Melissa Thomasson

Chair and Julian Lange Professor of Economics



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

  • "Medical Education Reforms and the Origins of the Rural Physician Shortage" (with Carolyn M. Moehling, Gregory T. Niemesh and Jaret Treber). Cliometrica, forthcoming.
  • “Revising Infant Mortality Rates for the Early 20th Century United States” (with Katherine Ericksson and Gregory T. Niemesh). Demography, 55(6), December 2018, 2001-2024. Previously NBER Working Paper #w23263, 2017.
  • "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.
  • Saving 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 and studies the economic history of health insurance and health care. 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 the Executive Director and a former Trustee of the Cliometric Society. She has testified before Congress and 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 Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI). Thomasson’s work has been featured on “This American Life” and “All Things Considered,” and in articles in the New York Times, the Financial Times, and a Washington Post podcast in addition to numerous other outlets.


  • 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


* Accessible version of PDF available upon request.