Kenneth P. Thomas

Professor of Political Science, University of Missouri-St. Louis
Chapter Member: Confluence SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Kenneth

Thomas’s research deals with the use of subsidies to attract investment by state and local governments. He places the topic in a comparative context, in particular by contrasting typical U.S. policies with European Union state aid rules, and other rules to control such “investment incentives” in Canada and Australia. He has been a community organizer and has worked with local groups in suburban St. Louis fight against tax increment financing subsidy projects. Thomas was in the leadership of Old Town Preservation Committee and worked with numerous other groups to reform Missouri’s tax increment financing statute. He has consulted informally for the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment on its Annual Meeting, on the topic of investment incentives, and has also consulted on subsidy issues for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


In the News

Quoted by Mark Schlinkmann in "Cities Race to the Amazon HQ2 Finish Line with Various Strategies," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 18, 2017.
Guest on CBS Money Watch, September 27, 2016.
Quoted by Jacob Barker in "Fenton Chrysler Site Redevelopment Could Follow Hazelwood Ford Blueprint," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 18, 2016.
Quoted by Mark Niquette in "Business Tax Breaks Draw Review From U.S. States Seeking Revenue," Bloomberg, March 3, 2015.
Quoted by Jamal Thalji in "Jeff Vinik's Toughest Task is Now Attracting Corporations to Tampa," Tampa Bay Tribune, December 18, 2014.
Guest on CHQR Radio: Kingcade and Kelly Show, April 23, 2014.
Guest on Thom Hartmann: The Big Picture, May 2, 2013.
Opinion: "No: Reform the Nation’s Wasteful Incentive System," Kenneth P. Thomas, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, December 8, 2012.


"EU Control of State Aid to Mobile Investment in Comparative Perspective" Journal of European Integration (2012): 567-584.

Shows the evolution of EU state aid control and documents how EU governments give systematically smaller investment incentives than U.S. state and local governments do for similar projects, even projects by the same company.

"Investment Incentives and the Global Competition for Capital" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Covers investment incentives and their control in developed and developing countries alike, with an updated estimate of the national cost of U.S. state and local government subsidies.

"Competing for Capital: Europe and North American in a Global Era" (Georgetown University Press, 2000).

Presents the theoretical case that competition for investment has negative consequences for economic inequality, efficiency, and even the environment, and that controlling this competition takes the form of a Prisoners’ Dilemma that has eluded solution in the United States. Shows how the European Union had partially brought the problem under control. Provides a national estimate for subsidies by U.S. state and local governments.