Meet new faculty member Danna Kang Thomas

Taxation and regulation of recreational marijuana legalization on her research agenda

Name: Danna Kang Thomas

Current position: Assistant professor, economics

Degrees: Bachelor’s in economics, bachelor's in mathematics, Auburn University; master of arts in economics, master of philosophy in economics, doctorate in economics, Columbia University

What brought you to South Carolina?

The USC economics department faculty is full of friendly and talented people, and I was thrilled to get the offer to work with them. Also, after living in New York City for graduate school, my husband and I were looking for the opportunity to move back down South and be in closer proximity to our families.

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in a small community outside of Anniston, Alabama. For my undergraduate studies, I attended Auburn University (where I met my wonderful husband, Will). I then made a big move to New York City to attend Columbia University. I completed my Ph.D. at Columbia last spring.

What’s your current area of research?

My primary subfields of economics are industrial organization and public finance. I’m particularly interested in topics pertaining to government intervention in the economy whether through regulation or taxation. My current research focus is on the effects of recreational marijuana legalization and the efficacy and efficiency of current state cannabis taxes and regulations.

What are your goals?

The reason marijuana legalization is so fascinating at this point in time is the unknowns of how it will affect public health and public policy. My goal for my current research is to shed a little more light into how recreational cannabis legalization impacts communities and the effects of government regulation of sin goods. 

What are you most looking forward to about being at Carolina?

Being the sports fan that I am, I’m looking forward to watching Southeastern Conference college sports live again. However, I’m most excited about interacting with the great students here and exploring the local area and the state.

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