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apl. Prof. Dr. Tobias Thomas

Economics, in particular Public Finance and Political Economy

Short CV

Prof. Dr. Tobias Thomas is Director General of Statistics Austria and adjunct Professor of Economics at the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. Internationally, Thomas represents Austria in the European Statistical System Committee (ESSC), the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC), the United Nations Conference of European Statisticians (UNCES), and the OECD Committee on Statistics and Statistical Policy (CSSP). In 2021, he was also elected by the ESS member states to the Partnership Group (ESS-PG), which provides strategic advice to the work of the ESSC.

Thomas is Vice President of the Austrian Statistical Society (ÖSG), Vice Chair of the Austrian Productivity Council, scientific expert at the Austrian Pension Commission, and member of the High-Level Group on the Strategic Development of the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). In addition, Thomas is member of the Science Advisory Board of the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH), member of the Committee on Economic Systems and Institutional Economics of the Verein für Socialpolitik, and Fellow at the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) of the Central European University (CEU).

After studying economics at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn and Technische Universität Berlin, Thomas earned his doctorate summa cum laude from the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg, where he later also completed his habilitation. Thomas was visiting scholar at, among others, Columbia University in New York (USA) at the invitation of Nobel Laureate in Economics Joseph E. Stiglitz and Anya Schiffrin as well as at the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance in Munich at the invitation of Kai A. Konrad.

In his research at the interface between economics and psychology, Thomas analyses decision-making processes and behavior in economic and political contexts. His research interests include public finance, reforms, and media impact. Other areas of focus include data science, data governance of complex data ecosystems, as well as building and improving research data infrastructure facilities.

Thomas regularly presents his research findings at scientific conferences and in scientific journals. Furthermore, Thomas appears regularly in national and international media. In the economist ranking of the most influential economists of Die Presse, F.A.Z. and Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Thomas ranked 5th in Austria in 2019 (2018: 6th). Since 2020, he has no longer been listed in accordance with the ranking's regulations due to his position as Director General of Statistics Austria.

Representative Publications

  • “Does the 4th Estate Deliver? The Political Coverage Index and its Application to Media Capture”. In: Constitutional Political Economy, 31 (2020), 292-328 (with R. Dewenter & U. Dulleck).
  • „Dekarbonisierung bis zum Jahr 2050? Klimapolitische Maßnahmen und Energieprognosen für Deutschland, Österreich und die Schweiz“. Zeitschrift für Energiewirtschaft, 44 (2020), 195-221 (with Manuel Frondel).
  • “Media Coverage and Immigration Worries: Econometric Evidence”, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 160 (2019), 52-67 (with C. Benesch, S. Loretz, S. & D. Stadelmann).
  • “Can media drive the electorate? The impact of media coverage on voting intentions”, European Journal of Political Economy, 58 (2019), 245-261, (with R. Dewenter, R. & M. Linder).
  • “The Distance Bias in Natural Disaster Reporting”, Applied Economics Letters, 16 (2019), 1026-1032 (with M. Berlemann).
  • “Ökonomische Folgen der Reformzurückhaltung bei der Beendigung des Solidaritätszuschlags“, Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, 19 (2018), 313-330 (with L. Strohner & J. Berger).
  • “Reluctant to Reform? A Note on Risk Loving of Politicians and Bureaucrats”, Review of Economics, 68 (2017), 167-179 (with M. Heß & G. G. Wagner).
  • “Do media data help to predict German industrial production?”, Journal of Forecasting, 36 (2017), 483-496 (with D. Ulbricht & K. Kholodilin).
  • “Can news draw blood? The impact of media coverage on the number and severity of terror attacks”, Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, 23 (2017), 1-16 (with K. Beckmann & R. Dewenter).
  • “Media Coverage and Car Manufacturers’ Sales”, Economics Bulletin, 36 (2016), 976-982 (with R. Dewenter & U. Heimeshoff).
  • „What price makes a good a status good? Results from a mating game“, European Journal of Law and Economics, 36 (2013), 35-55.
  • “Consumption behavior and the aspiration for conformity and consistency”, Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 3 (2010), 83-94 (with M. Göbel & A. Schneider).
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