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

  • "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.
  • "Testing the Economic Literacy of K-12 Teachers: A Statewide Baseline Analysis", with Paul W. Grimes and Meghan J. Millea, American Secondary Education, 2010, vol. 38, no. 3, p 4-20.
  • "Advanced Placement Participation: Evaluating the Policies of States and Colleges AP: A Critical Examination of the Role of the Advanced Placement Program in Education", with Kristin Klopfenstein, Harvard Education Press, 2010.
  • "Simpsonomics: Teaching Economics Using Episodes from the Television Show The Simpsons.", with R. Andrew Luccasen, Journal of Economic Education, 2010, vol. 41, no. 2, p 136-149.

Recent Presentations

  • "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.
  • "Access to High School Arts Education", Southern Economic Association, Atlanta, GA, 2010.