Thomas Light

Thomas Light
Senior Economist; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Off Site Office


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

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Thomas Light is a senior economist at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research spans a variety of areas including military acquisition, cost, and logistics issues as well as transportation and energy policy. Examples of Light's research include an analysis of cost and schedule growth for military acquistion programs; a study of the effects of restructuring Air Force aircraft maintenance career fields; an assessment of the benefits and costs of speeding up highway expansion projects in Southern California; an analysis of alternative policy options for reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions; an evaluation of strategies for reducing domestic oil consumption; and a review of equity concerns associated with congestion pricing. In addition to his research activities at RAND, Light has taught public finance at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University.

Recent Projects

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

Selected Publications

Light, Thomas.; Romano, Daniel M.; Kennedy, Michael,; O'Connell, Caolionn.; Bednarz, Sean G., Consolidating Air Force Maintenance Occupational Specialties, RAND Corporation (RR-1307), 2016

Boito, Michael; Light, Thomas.; Mills, Patrick H.; Baldwin, Laura H, Managing U.S. Air Force Aircraft Operating and Support Costs: Insights from Recent RAND Analysis and Opportunities for the Future, RAND Corporation (RR-1077), 2016

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

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

Honors & Awards

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship, Federal Highway Administration