Leigh Tesfatsion


Professor Emerita of Economics
Courtesy Research Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering


266 Heady
518 Farm House Ln.
Ames, IA 500111054


375 Heady Hall


Leigh Tesfatsion received the Ph.D. degree in economics from the University of Minnesota, Mpls., in 1975, with a minor in mathematics. She is Professor Emerita of Economics and Courtesy Research Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Iowa State University. Her principal current research areas are electric power market design and the development of agent-based computational platforms for the performance testing of these designs.  She is the recipient of the 2020 David A. Kendrick Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Computational Economics (SCE) and an IEEE Senior Member.  She has served as guest editor and associate editor for a number of journals, including the IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, the IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, the Journal of Energy Markets, the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, the Journal of Public Economic Theory, and Computational Economics.


Ph.D., Economics (Major), Math (Minor), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (1975)

B.A., History (Major), Carleton College, Northfield, MN (1968)

Interest Areas

Core Research Areas: Electric power market design, agent-based computational economics

Strategic Areas: Flexible least squares, adaptive computation methods for nonlinear systems, optimality and efficiency in open-ended dynamic economies, learning methods


Google Scholar Profile: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ggdN34MAAAAJ&hl=en

  • Leigh Tesfatsion (2021), A New Swing-Contract Design for Wholesale Power Markets, 20 Chpts, 288pp., John Wiley & Sons (IEEE Press Series on Power Engineering), Hoboken, NJ, USA.
  • Leigh Tesfatsion (2024), “Locational Marginal Pricing: A Fundamental Reconsideration,” IEEE Open-Access Journal of Power and Energy, Vol. 11, February, 104-116.
  • Leigh Tesfatsion (2023), “Economics of Grid-Supported Electric Power Markets: A Fundamental Reconsideration,” Supporting Document (Attachment A) for Comments (Accession No. 20230117-5051) e-filed at U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for Docket AD21-10-0000 (“Modernizing Wholesale Electric Power Market Design”), January 17.
  • Rui Cheng, Leigh Tesfatsion, and Zhaoyu Wang (2023), A Consensus-Based Transactive Energy Design for Unbalanced Distribution Networks, IEEE Transactions on Power Systems 38(1), 114-128.
  • Leigh Tesfatsion (2023), “Agent-Based Computational Economics: Overview and Brief History,” Ch. 4 (pp. 41-58) in R. Venkatachalam (Ed.), Artificial Intelligence, Learning, and Computation in Economics and Finance, Springer Cham, 325pp.
  • Swathi Battula, Leigh Tesfatsion, and Zhaoyu Wang (2020), “A Customer-Centric Approach to Bid-Based Transactive Energy System Design,” IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid 11(6), 4996-5008.
  • Swathi Battula, Leigh Tesfatsion, and Thomas E. McDermott (2020), “An ERCOT Test System for Market Design Studies,” Applied Energy, Vol. 275, October, 115182.
  • Shanshan Ma, Zhaoyu Wang, and Leigh Tesfatsion (2019), “Swing Contracts with Dynamic Reserves for Flexible Service Management,” IEEE Transactions on Power Systems 34(5), 4024-4037.
  • Auswin Thomas and Leigh Tesfatsion (2018), “Braided Cobwebs: Cautionary Tales for Dynamic Pricing in Retail Electric Power Markets,” IEEE Transactions on Power Systems 33(6), 6870-6882.
  • Leigh Tesfatsion (2018), “Electric Power Markets in Transition: Agent-Based Modeling Tools for Transactive Energy Support,” Chapter 13 (pp. 715-766) in Cars Hommes and Blake LeBaron (eds.), Handbook of Computational Economics 4: Heterogeneous Agent Models, Handbooks in Economics Series, North Holland (Elsevier), Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Leigh Tesfatsion (2017), “Modeling Economic Systems as Locally-Constructive Sequential Games,” Journal of Economic Methodology 24(4), 384-409.
  • Leigh Tesfatsion, Chris R. Rehmann, Diego S. Cardoso, Yu Jie, and William J. Gutowski (2017), “An Agent-Based Platform for the Study of Watersheds as Coupled Natural and Human Systems,” Environmental Modelling & Software, Vol. 89, March, 40-60.
  • Dheepak Krishnamurthy, Wanning Li, and Leigh Tesfatsion (2016), “An 8-Zone Test System Based on ISO New England Data: Development and Application,” IEEE Transactions on Power Systems 31(1), Jan., 234-246.
  • Ekaterina Sinitskaya and Leigh Tesfatsion (2015), “Macroeconomies as Constructively Rational Games,” Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol. 61, December, 152-182.
  • Deung-Yong Heo and Leigh Tesfatsion (2015), “Facilitating Appropriate Compensation of Electric Energy and Reserve through Standardized Contracts with Swing,” Journal of Energy Markets 8(4), Dec., 93-121.
  • Paul Borrill and Leigh Tesfatsion (2011), “Agent-Based Modeling: The Right Mathematics for the Social Sciences?,” pp. 228-258 in J.B. Davis and D.W. Hands (eds.), Elgar Companion to Recent Economic Methodology, Edward Elgar Publishers, 560pp. ISBN-13: 9781848447547
  • Hongyan Li and Leigh Tesfatsion (2011), “ISO Net Surplus Collection and Allocation in Wholesale Power Markets Under Locational Marginal Pricing,” IEEE Transactions on Power Systems 26(2), 627-641.
  • Blake LeBaron and Leigh Tesfatsion (2008), “Modeling Macroeconomies as Open-Ended Dynamic Systems of Interacting Agents,” American Economic Review (Papers & Proceedings) 98(2), 246-250.
  • Leigh Tesfatsion (2006), Agent-Based Computational Economics: A Constructive Approach to Economic Theory,” Introductory Chapter (pp. 831-880) in Leigh Tesfatsion and Kenneth L. Judd (eds.), Handbook of Computational Economics 2: Agent-Based Computational Economics , Handbooks in Economics Series, North-Holland (Elsevier), Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Primary Strategic Research Area

Energy Systems