Tobias Thomas

Tobias Thomas is Director General of Statistics Austria, Vice Chair of the Austrian Productivity Council (PROD), and Professor of Economics at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.

Furthermore, Thomas is Vice President of the Austrian Statistical Society (ÖSG), scientific expert at the Austrian Pension Commission, and member of the Commission Future of Statistics (KomZS) on the strategic development of the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). In addition, Thomas is member of the Committee on Economic Systems and Institutional Economics of the Verein für Socialpolitik (VfS), and Fellow at the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) of the Central European University (CEU). Internationally, Thomas represents Austria in the European Statistical System Committee (ESSC), the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC), the United Nations Conference of European Statisticians (UNCES), and the OECD Committee on Statistics and Statistical Policy (CSSP). In 2021, he was also elected by the ESS member states to the Partnership Group (ESS-PG), which provides strategic advice to the work of the ESSC. In addition, Thomas is member of the UNCES task force on data stewardship.

After studying economics at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn and Technische Universität Berlin, Thomas earned his doctorate summa cum laude from the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg, where he later also completed his habilitation. Thomas was visiting scholar at, among others, Columbia University in New York (USA) at the invitation of Nobel Laureate in Economics Joseph E. Stiglitz and Anya Schiffrin as well as at the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance in Munich at the invitation of Kai A. Konrad. In his research at the interface between economics and psychology, Thomas analyses decision-making processes and behavior in economic and political contexts. His research interests include public finance, competitiveness, reforms, and media impact. Other areas of focus include data science, data governance of complex data ecosystems, as well as building and improving research data infrastructure facilities.

Thomas regularly presents his research findings at scientific conferences and in scientific journals. Furthermore, Thomas appears regularly in national and international media. In the economist ranking of the most influential economists of Die Presse, F.A.Z. and Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Thomas ranked 5th in Austria in 2019 (2018: 6th). Since 2020, he has no longer been listed in accordance with the ranking’s regulations due to his position as Director General of Statistics Austria. In 2022, Thomas was quoted 1,601 times in Austrian media only (2021: 1,413 times).

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