Thomas Downes

Thomas Downes

(617) 627-2687
177 College Avenue, Room
Research/Areas of Interest:

Public Educational Finance and School Choice


  • PhD Economics, Stanford University, Stanford, United States, 1988
  • MA Statistics, Stanford University, Stanford, United States, 1988
  • BA Economics and Mathematics, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, United States, 1982


Professor Downes received his B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Bowdoin College in 1982 and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1988 and was a faculty member at Northwestern University from 1988-1994. His research focuses on the evaluation and construction of policies to improve the delivery of publicly-provided goods and reduce inequities in these services, with particular attention paid to public education. He has also pursued research on the roles of the public and private sectors in education provision. Among his current projects are papers that document the implications for student outcomes, community composition, private school enrollment, and non-education spending of school finance reforms and property tax limitations and that quantify the extent to which charter schools draw from private schools. His published papers have appeared in such journals as Public Finance Quarterly, the National Tax Journal, Public Choice, the RAND Journal of Economics, Bulletin of Economic Research, Economics of Education Review, the Journal of Urban Economics, and Education Finance and Policy. He served on the Panel on Formula Allocations of the Committee on National Statistics of the National Academies, participated in symposia sponsored by the New York State Board of Regents that resulted in Educational Finance to Support High Learning Standards and Educational Finance and Organizational Structure in New York State Schools, and recently completed a term as co-editor of Education Finance and Policy.