Faculty & Staff

 Kathleen  Thomas, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D., Georgia State University, Economics
  • MA, The University of Alabama, Economics
  • BS, Birmingham-Southern College, Economics


Dr. M. Kathleen Thomas is an Associate Professor of Economics at Mississippi State University who specializes in public finance and education policy. Prior to joining the faculty at MSU, Dr. Thomas was a researcher with the Texas Schools Project at The University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Thomas maintains her affiliation with the Texas Schools Project and is currently using longitudinal student-level education data to examine access to arts education and how arts participation influences education outcomes using experimental and quasi-experimental techniques. Her current research is funded by the Spencer Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Thomas’ research has been published in numerous peer reviewed journals including Economics Letters, Southern Economic Journal, Journal of Cultural Economics, and Economics of Education Review. Dr. Thomas earned her Ph.D. in economics from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University in 2000.

Recent Publications

  • "The Effects of Algebra and Geometry Skills on Performance in High School Economics", with Brent A. Evans and John R. Swinton, Perspectives on Economic Education Research, 2015, vol. 9, no. 2, p 54-64.
  • "Monetary incentives versus class credit: Evidence from a large classroom trust experiment", with R. Andrew Luccasen, Economics Letters, 2014, vol. 123, p 232-235.
  • "Teaching Macroeconomic Principles Using Animated Cartoons", with R. A. Luccasen and Michael Hammock, The American Economist, 2011, vol. 56, no. 1, p 38-47.

Recent Presentations

  • "Designing and Implementing Program Evaluations in Arts Education: The Case of Little Kids Rock", with Kristin Klopfenstein and Prinyanka Singh, 85th Annual Meeting of the Southern Economic Association, New Orleans, 2015.
  • "Designing and implementing program evaluations in arts education: The case of Little Kids Rock", 7th Conference on Cultural and Media Economics, Paris, France, 2015.
  • "Arts Education and the High School Dropout Problem", 84th Annual Meeting of the Southern Economic Association, Atlanta, GA, 2014.
  • "Using Active Learning Lessons Developed for High Schools Students in the College Classroom", 13th Annual Economics Teaching Workshop, Wilmington, NC, 2013.
  • "Arts Education and the High School Dropout Problem", Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Research Seminar Series, Atlanta, 2013.