Melissa Thomasson

Julian Lange Professor of Economics & Director of Graduate Studies



Academic Background

  • Ph.D. University of Arizona, Economics, 1998
  • M.A. University of Arizona, Economics, 1993
  • B.S. University of Puget Sound, Economics, 1992

Academic & Professional Experience

  • Julian Lange Professor of Economics, Miami University (2015-Present)
  • Associate Professor, Miami University (2005-2015).
  • Assistant Professor, Miami University (1998-2005).
  • Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research (2005-Present).
  • Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research (1999-2005).

Recent Publications

  • €œ"Hard Times in the Land of Plenty: The Effect of Childhood During the Great Depression on Adult Outcomes"€ (with Price V. Fishback". Explorations in Economic History, 54(1), October 2014, 64-78.
  • "€œSaving Babies: The Impact of Public Health Education Programs on Infant Mortality."€ (with Carolyn Moehling). Demography, 51(2), April 2014, 367-386.
  • "The Political Economy of Saving Mothers and Babies: The Politics of State Participation in the Sheppard-Towner Program" (with Carolyn Moehling). Journal of Economic History, 72 (1), March 2012, 75-103.
  • Thomasson, M. A. (2008). "From Home to Hospital: The Evolution of Childbirth in the United States, 1928-1940" (with Jaret Treber). Explorations in Economic History, 45 (1), 76-99.
  • Thomasson, M. A. (2006). "Racial Differences in Health Insurance Coverage and Medical Expenditures: An Historical Perspective." Social Science History, 30 (4).
  • Thomasson, M. A. (2004). "Early Evidence of an Adverse Selection Death Spiral." Explorations in Economic History, 41, 313-328.
  • Collins, W. J. & Thomasson, M. A. (2004). "The Declining Contribution of Socioeconomic Disparities to the Racial Gap in Infant Mortality Rates." Southern Economic Journal, 70 (4), 746-776.
  • Thomasson, M. A. (2003). "The Importance of Group Coverage: How Tax Policy Shaped U.S. Health Insurance." American Economic Review, 93 (4), 1373-84.
  • Thomasson, M. A. (2002). "From Sickness to Health: The Twentieth Century Development of U.S. Health Insurance." Explorations in Economic History, 39 (3), 233-53.

Honors & Awards

  • 2006 winner of Farmer School of Business "Junior Research Excellence Award" for $5,000.
  • 2005 prize for best paper in Explorations in Economic History.
  • EH.Net Featured Economic Historian, Fall 2004.
  • National Bureau of Economic Research National Fellow, 2002-2003.
  • John M. Olin Fellowship, 1997.
  • University of Arizona Award for Outstanding Teaching, 1997.
  • University of Arizona nominee for national Irwin Fellowship, 1996.
  • Elmer J. Brown Fellowship for outstanding third-year graduate student paper in economics, 1995 (co-recipient).

Areas of Expertise

  • Econometrics
  • Economic history
  • Health economics
  • Microeconomics


Melissa Thomasson is the Julian Lange Professor of Economics at Miami University. She earned her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Arizona and joined Miami in 1998. Her work on the economic history of health insurance and health care has been published in top journals, and she has received several grants and awards, including a grant from the National Science Foundation. Thomasson is a Research Associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research, has served on the editorial boards of two journals in her field, and is a former Trustee of the Cliometrics Society. Her findings have been cited in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Yale Law Journal, in reports prepared for the U.S. Senate and the United Nations, and by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI). Her work on the economic history of health insurance has been featured on “This American Life,” and on “All Things Considered” on National Public Radio.


  • SPRING 2019
  • ECO 201 K MW 1:15-2:35, FSB 0025
  • ECO 332 A MW 2:50-4:10, FSB 0038

Contact Information

Office Hours

  • Spring 2019
  • MR 10:00-11:30
  • And By Appointment via


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