Adam T Thomas


Associate Teaching Professor


McCourt School of Public Policy
General profile



+1 202-687-3231



Adam Thomas joined the faculty of the McCourt School of Public Policy on a full-time basis in the summer of 2011 after having served as an adjunct professor there for a year. He teaches courses in quantitative methods, microeconomics, and thesis development.

From 2007 to 2011, Dr. Thomas was the Research Director for the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families, which is housed in the Institution’s Economic Studies program. While at Brookings, Thomas led the effort to develop FamilyScape, an agent-based simulation model of family formation. He continues to collaborate with his Brookings colleagues on the FamilyScape project, and their work focuses on two broad questions related to unintended pregnancy and nonmarital childbearing: what are the root causes of these phenomena, and what can be done from a policy perspective to address them?

In 2007, Thomas earned his Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University. His dissertation research examined the marital prospects of low-skilled men in the United States. During his time at Harvard, he was awarded a Jacob K. Javits Doctoral Fellowship and an Inequality and Social Policy Doctoral Research Fellowship. He also served for several years as an economics instructor in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Summer Program for mid-career graduate students. Prior to his doctoral work, he was a Senior Research Analyst in the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution. His earlier work at Brookings focused on family structure, welfare reform, and policies designed to assist low-income working families.

Dr. Thomas’s papers have been published in a variety of academic journals, including the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, and The Future of Children. His findings have also been cited in a number of media outlets, including The Economist, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Congressional Quarterly, National Public Radio, Bloomberg Businessweek, Slate, and The Christian Science Monitor. In addition to his Ph.D., he holds master’s degrees in policy studies from the University of Sussex (UK) and the University of Texas at Austin, and he holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Birmingham-Southern College.


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  • Ph.D. (2007) Harvard University, Public Policy
  • M.P.Aff. (1999) University of Texas at Austin, Public Affairs
  • M.A. (1997) University of Sussex (Brighton, England), Applied Policy Studies
  • B.A. (1995) Birmingham-Southern College, Political Science