Michael D. Thomas, PhD
Michael D. Thomas, PhD

Michael D. Thomas, PhD

Assistant Professor
Heider College of Business


  • Public Choice
  • Taxation
  • Welfare Economics
  • History of Economic Ideas

Academic Appointments


  • Economics and Finance


  • Assistant Professor

Teaching Activity

  • Eco 203 Introduction to Microeconomics
  • Eco 318 - Public Finance
  • Eco 508 - History of Political Economy


Michael D. Thomas is an Assistant Professor in the Economics and Finance Department at Creighton University. He was previously a Research Professor at Utah State University, studying transportation economics, regulation policy, and welfare economics. He is a public choice economist who earned a PhD in economics from George Mason university in 2009. Micahel has also studied at Duke University while a fellow at the History of Political Economy Center in 2008-2009. Michael has published papers in Kyklos, the Independent Review, the Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, the Journal of City and Town Management, the Review of Austrian Economics, and the Journal of Private Enterprise. His wife, Diana W. Thomas is an associate professor of economics at Creighton. Michael's interest in monetary economics was stimulated while earning a Masters degree at the University of Missouri--St. Louis and while selling mortgage loans during 2001-2003 as a loan originator. Michael received his bachelors degree from the University of Alabama in 2001 and is an avid college football fan.

Publications and Presentations


  • Reapplying Behavioral Symmetry: Public Choice and Choice Architecture., Public Choice, 2018

  • “The Rise of the Regulatory State: Institutional Entrepreneurship and the Decline of Markets for Blood" (with Diana W. Thomas)., Independent Review, 22(4), 485-506, 2018

  • “Income-Expenditure Elasticities of Less Healthy Consumption Goods.” (with Adam J. Hoffer, Rejeana Gvillo, and William F. Shughart), Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, 14(1), 127-148, 2017
  • "Nebraska: Undermining Fiscal Discipline and Eroding
    Federalism" -- Published as a Mercatus working
    paper, 2017

  • Regressive Effects: Causes and Consequences of Selective Consumption Taxation”  with Adam Hoffer, Rejeana Gvillo, and Willam F. Shughart), Published as a Mercatus working paper, 2015
  • "Sin Taxes and Sindustry Revenue, Paternalism, and Political Interest" (with Adam J. Hoffer and William F. Shughart), Independent Review, 19(1), 47-64, 2014
  • "Effects of Natural Gas Vehicles and Fuel Prices on Key Transportation Economics Metrics" (with Kevin Heaslip, Ryan Bosworth, Ryan Barnes, Ali Soltani Sobh, and Ziqi Song) Published as a WSDOT Research Report, Washing State Department of Transportation, 2014
  • “Rational Irrationality and the Political Process of Repeal: The Women's Organization for
    National Prohibition Reform and the 21st Amendment” (with Diana W. Thomas and Nick A. Snow), Kyklos, 66(1), 130-152, 2014
  • "Entrepreneurship: Catallactic and Constitutional Perspectives" (With Diana W. Thomas), Review of Austrian Economics, 27(1), 11-22, 2013
  • “Technological Change and the Lowest Common Denominator Problem: An Analysis
    of Oregon's VMT tax experiment” (with Kevin Heaslip), Journal of Town and City Management, 2(2), 177-186, 2013
  • "Encouraging a Productive Research Agenda: Peter Boettke and the Devil's Test" (with Diana W. Thomas), Journal of Private Enterprise, 26(1), 103-115, 2010


  • "The Roots of Nebraska’s ‘Fiscal Squeeze’” Editorial. Lincoln Journal-Star, 2017
  • "All Taxes Start as Good Intentions, But Don't End that Way" (with William Shughart). Editorial. Inside Sources , 2015
  • “Building Community in Ferguson,” Editorial, St. Louis Post-Dispatch., 2014
  • "Big Brother Declares War on Consumption" (with William F. Shughart and Adam J. Hoffer). Editorial. USA Today, 2013
  • "Sin Tax's Cost Outweighs Benefits" (with William F. Shughart and Adam J. Hoffer). Editorial. US News and World Report, 2013

Editing and Reviews

  • “Mark A. Zupan: Inside Job: How Government Insiders Subvert the Public Interest”
     , Independent Review, 22(4), 2018
  • "Harry G. Frankfurt: On Inequality.”, The Review of Austrian Economics, 2017
  • "Cass R. Sunstein: The ethics of influence: government in the age of behavioral science", Public Choice, 171 (3-4), 429-432, 2017

  • "Wayne A. Leighton and Edward J. Lopez: Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers: The Economic Engine of Political Change" , Public Choice, 159(1), 313-315, 2013


  • "Economics and the Enlightenment", Europe and Liberty Seminar, Institute for Economic Studies, at the Friedrich Neumann Foundation für die Freiheit, Gummersbach, DE , 2017
  • "Socratic Instruction and Undergraduate Reading Groups" Association of Private Enterprise Education, Lahaina, HI -- Panel Discussion and Presentation, 2017

  • "The Paternalism of Taxing Disfavored Goods" Association of Private Enterprise Education, Lahaina, HI -- Paper Presentation, 2017
  • "Circumscribed Justice: The Limits of the New Paternalism" Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Society, New Orleans, LA -- Paper Presentation, 2017
  • "The Problems in Voting after Rational Irrationality" Southern Economic Association, Washington, DC -- Paper Presentation , 2016
  • "Cutting the Epistemic Knot: The Mysticism of Modern Paternalism" Southern Economic Association, Washington, DC -- Paper Presentation, 2016
  • "Taxes as Country Club Dues" University of Washington, Seattle, WA -- Paper Presentation, 2016

  • "Nebraska: Undermining Fiscal Discipline and Eroding Federalism” Southern Economic
    Association Meetings, New Orleans, LA -- Paper Presentation, 2015
  • “Regressive Effects: Causes and Consequences of Selective Consumption Taxation”
    Association of Private Enterprise Association, Cancún, MX -- Paper Presentation, 2015
  • "Critiques of Behavioral Economics” Southern Economic Association, Atlanta, GA -- Paper Presentation, 2014

Awards and Honors

  • Cahill Award for Excellence, Heider College of Business Dean's Office , 2017