Thomas J Holmes

Contact Me

4-101 HMH

1925 4th Street South

Thomas Holmes holds the Curtis L. Carlson Chair in Economics at the University of Minnesota. He joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis as an economist in 1993. He is currently a visiting scholar in the Research Department. He previously taught at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Tom’s research focuses on industrial organization and economic geography. He has recently developed models to explain the rapid spread of Wal-Mart stores and the geographic distribution of union membership. His work has been published in journals such as the Journal of Political Economy, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the American Economic Review. He is an associate editor at the RAND Journal of Economics and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Economics, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 1985.
  • B.A.: Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1981.
  • B.S.: Mathematics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1981.

Curriculum Vitae


  • applied microeconomics
  • industrial organization
Courses Taught
  • Econ 8601: Industrial Organization and Government Regulation
  • Econ 8691-8692: Workshop in Applied Microeconomics
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Curtis Carlson Professor of Economics: Department of Economics , 2003 - present
  • Editorial Board Member: Journal of Urban Economics , 2007 - present
  • Associate Editor: Rand Journal of Economics , 2002 - present
  • Editorial Board Member: Journal of Economic Geography , 2001 - present
  • President: Urban Economics Association , 2014 - 2015
  • Associate Editor, Review of Economic Dynamics: 2003 - 2008
  • Professor: Department of Economics , 2001 - 2003
  • Associate Professor: Department of Economics , 1995 - 2001
  • Economist, Research Department,: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis , 1993 - 1995
  • Visiting Assistant Professor: Dartmouth College , 1990 - 1991
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Economics: University of Wisconsin-Madison , 1985 - 1993


  • Consultant: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
  • National Bureau of Economic Research Associate: 2002 - present
  • Structural Estimation in Urban Economics: Holmes, Thomas, Holger Seig, co-author; Duranton, Henderson, Strange (editors), North Holland, Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, 5 69-114, 2015.
  • Quid Pro Quo: Technology Capital Transfers for Market Access in China: Holmes, Thomas, E. C. Prescott, E. R. McGrattan, Review of Economic Studies, 82(3) 1154-1193, July 2015.
  • Optimal City Hierachy: A Dynamic Programming Approach to Central Place Theory: Holmes, Thomas, Wen-Tai Hsu, Frank Morgan, Journal of Economic Theory, 154 245-273, November 2014.
  • Allocative Efficiency, Mark-ups, and the Welfare Gains from Trade: Holmes, Thomas, Wen-Tai Hsu, Sanghoon Lee, Journal of International Economics, 94:2 195-206, November 2014.
  • An Alternative Theory of the Plant Size Distribution, with Geography and Intra- and International Trade: Holmes, Thomas, John J. Stevens, Journal of Political Economy, 122, No. 2 369-421, April 2014.
  • Fellow, Econometric Society, 2011 - present