Duncan Thomas investigates the inter-relationships between health, human capital and socio-economic status with a focus on the roles that individual, family and community factors play in improving levels of health and well-being across the globe. Much of this work highlights resource allocation and decision-making within households and families.
His research uses data from large-scale population based longitudinal surveys that he has designed and fielded in collaboration with Elizabeth Frankenberg and other colleagues in the U.S., Indonesia and Mexico. These include the Indonesia Family Life Survey (IFLS), the Work and Iron Status Evaluation (WISE), the Study of the Tsunami Aftermath and Recovery (STAR) and the Mexican Family Life Survey (MxFLS).
He was elected vice president of the Population Association of America (PAA) and, prior to that, was elected to the PAA Board of Directors. He is a fellow, past president and board member of the Bureau for Research in the Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) and he currently directs the NBER Development Economics program.