Thomas Light

Photo of Thomas Light
Senior Economist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. and M.S. in economics, Cornell University; B.S. in economics and accounting, University of Oregon

Media Resources

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Thomas Light is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research focuses on transportation, energy, and logistics issues. Examples of Light's research include an analysis of the benefits and costs of speeding up highway expansion projects in Southern California; an assessment of alternative policy options for reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions; evaluation of strategies for reducing domestic oil consumption; review of equity concerns associated with congestion pricing; and economic analysis of the efficiency and distributional implications of implementing a form of congestion pricing called value pricing. He has also been involved in research for NASA and the U.S. Air Force. In addition to his research activities at RAND, Light teaches a course on public finance at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University.

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Recent Projects

  • Evaluation of options for managing spent nuclear fuel
  • Analysis of equity issues associated with congestion pricing
  • Assessment of military acquisition protests

Selected Publications

L. Ecola and T. Light, "Making Congestion Pricing Equitable," Transportation Research Record, 2187:53-59, 2011

L. Ecola and T. Light, Equity and Congestion Pricing: A Review of the Evidence, RAND Corporation (TR-680), 2009

N. Burger, L. Ecola, T. Light, and M. Toman, "In Search of Effective and Viable Policies to Reduce Greenhouse Gases," Environment, 51(3):8-18, 2009

T. Light, "Optimal Highway Design and User Welfare Under Value Pricing," Journal of Urban Economics, 66(2):116-124, 2009

L. Dixon, P. Sorensen, M. Wachs, M. Collins, M. Hanson, A. Kofner, T. Light, M. Madsen, L. Marsh, A. Overton, H. Shatz, B. Weatherford, Balancing Environment and Development: Costs, Revenues, and Benefits of the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, RAND Corporation (MG-816-RCA), 2008

P. Sorensen, M. Wachs, E. Min, A. Kofner, L. Ecola, M. Hanson, A. Yoh, T. Light, J. Griffin, Moving Los Angeles: Short-Term Policy Options for Improving Transportation, RAND Corporation (MG-748-JAT/METRO/MCLA), 2008

Honors & Awards

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship, Federal Highway Administration