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

  • Department Chair, Economics Miami University (2019-Present)
  • 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

  • "Can pandemics affect educational attainment? Evidence from the polio epidemic of 1916" (with Keith Meyers). Cliometrica, available early online, 2020 doi:10.1007/s11698-020-00212-3. "Votes for Women: An Economic Perspective on Women's Enfranchisement" (with Carolyn M. Moehling). Journal of Economic Perspectives, 34(2), 2020, 3-23.
  • "Medical Education Reforms and the Origins of the Rural Physician Shortage" (with Carolyn M. Moehling, Gregory T. Niemesh and Jaret Treber). Cliometrica, 14, 2020, 181-225.
  • "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

  • Richard K. Smucker Outstanding Professor, Farmer School of Business, 2019
  • Farmer School of Business Junior Research Excellence Award, 2006
  • Best paper in Explorations in Economic History, 2005
  • 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, serves or has served on the editorial boards of four journals in her field, and is on the Board of Trustees of the Economic History Association. She is also the Executive Director and a former Trustee of the Cliometric Society. Thomasson 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.


  • FALL 2020
  • ECO 201 K MW 2:50-4:10 (ONLINE)
Melissa Thomasson

Contact Information

Office Hours

  • MW 12:30-1:30 (Calendly)
  • MW 1:30-2:30- open office hours (Zoom)


* Accessible version of PDF available upon request.