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School of Economics

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Caroline Noblet to Speak At Climate Conference

At the Adaptation and Sustainability Conference in October, Assistant Professor Caroline Noblet will present on Adaptation and Sustainability Incentives.  See the conference program here:

SOE undergrads use high-tech wind farm simulation when surveying tourists to Monhegan Island

When tourists visit Monhegan Island this summer, they may get a trip to the virtual future.
Armed with digital tablets and headphones, a group of undergraduate researchers are offering willing participants a chance to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds that could impact their experience of the island: the proposed offshore wind farm. Using “augmented reality”, the undergrads will offer tourists a glimpse of what could be “actual reality” in the future. The team of faculty and undergrad researchers will use the technology to garner opinions on a two-turbine project proposed for an area about two miles off of Monhegan. The goal is to give tourists – among the most important stakeholders connected to the island – a chance to wrap their minds around the possible effects of an offshore wind farm. Based on the experience, they’ll be asked to rate the likelihood of their return to the island if the project is completed. This Fall the undergrads will share results with the Monhegan Island Wind Working Group, which represents tourist-based business owners, assessors, power district representatives, commercial fisherman and residents. They will then write a final report for Monhegan residents.

The research is supported by National Science Foundation award EPS-0904155 to Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine.

Dr. Jim Breece offers ‘Leveraged Flip’ course which revolves around experts

Breece, who has professionally traveled to China numerous times, specializes in macroeconomics, international trade and forecasting. Last spring he designed and taught a Chinese economy course that examined its impact on global trading patterns, distribution of wealth and the environment. Breece dubs the class format “Leveraged Flip” — one in which students read assigned textbooks, write papers and view videos outside of class and interact with guest speakers and participate in discussion during class time.

He called upon UMaine colleagues who concentrate in Chinese culture, food, history, language and government to share their expertise. Other guest lecturers included Michael Riedel from the American Embassy in Beijing, as well as Eliot Cutler, an attorney who lived in Beijing for several years and represented investors in the Chinese market. The class “was an unbelievable learning experience,” says Elyse Doyle of Gray, Maine, who is on track to earn a master’s in economics in May 2015. “It was unlike any course I had ever taken.”

The pedagogy was so successful that Breece is replicating it this fall in a Health Economics course where he’ll team-teach with Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems staff and invite a variety of guest speakers.

Assistant Professor Caroline Noblet Collaborates with UMaine Law School

In a forthcoming article in the journal Ecology Law Quarterly, Dave Owen, Professor in the University of Maine School of Law, and Caroline Noblet, Assistant Professor in UMaine’s School of Economics, argue that we should take a different view of environmental law’s role in interdisciplinary research.

Economics as Preparation for Law School — The UMaine Case

Economics is a great degree for pre-law students, and economics students score very well on the pre-law SAT exam. Students with questions regarding careers which combine law and economics, or about the practice of law in Maine, are welcome to contact Clint Boothby, J.D. at

See Clint’s story in this Bangor Daily News Article:



Kathleen P. Bell publishes in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Vernal pools are far more important for providing ecosystem services than one would predict based on their small size. However, prevailing resource-management strategies are not effectively conserving pools and other small natural features on private lands. Solutions are complicated by tensions between private property and societal rights, uncertainties over resource location and function, diverse stakeholders, and fragmented regulatory authority. The development and testing of new conservation approaches that link scientific knowledge, stakeholder decision-making, and conservation outcomes are important responses to this conservation dilemma. Drawing from a 15-y history of vernal pool conservation efforts in Maine, we describe the co-evolution of pool conservation and research approaches, focusing on how research-based knowledge was produced and used in support of management decisions.

To read full article see:

Work by Todd Gabe and Jim McConnon increases job growth in Ellsworth

In 2012, Gabe and James McConnon conducted a Retail Trade Area Analysis and Gap Analysis for the City of Ellsworth. Recently the impacts of the report were made known.   According to the City’s economic development director, the information in the reports is used “all the time” and has been a valuable tool in the city’s economic development efforts. She said that “the University of Maine reports played a critical role in her successful efforts to help six retail businesses start-up or expand their operations in Ellsworth during the past two years, adding 109 full-and part-time jobs to the local economy.”

Linda Silka speaks about the importance of innovation to Maine on Maine Public Radio

The latest Maine Policy Review is devoted to innovation in the Maine Economy. MPBN’s Irwin Gratz talked with Linda Silka, who directs the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, which publishes the review, about what it will take to promote innovation in the Maine economy. She says innovation is more likely when you bring together people with different skills who know something about each other’s work.

To listen go to:

SOE article about offshore wind power development picked up by European Commission’s news service

The article “Will Offshore Energy Face “Fair Winds and Following Seas”?: Understanding the Factors Influencing Offshore Wind Acceptance” will be highlighted in Science for Environment Policy, a news service published by the European Commission’s Environment Directorate-General.

Science for Environment Policy is a service providing news of the latest environmental research specially selected by their independent scientific advisors. Once published, the article is sent to over 18,000 policymakers, academics and business people across Europe.

Link to original “Estuaries and Coasts” article:

Work by Haley Engelberth, Kathleen Bell and Mario Teisl focus of BDN article

Pregnant women are urged to avoid fish high in methylmercury (MeHg) since it can limit the fetus’ brain development; however, fish is a good source of omega-3’s which promote brain development. Agencies issue consumption advisories to inform the public about the risks & benefits of eating fish; however, the difficulty in communicating both the risks & benefits lead readers of the advisory to inappropriately over-restrict their fish consumption. The authors worked with Maine CDC and UNE personnel to test the effectiveness of Maine’s advisory. Compared to nonreaders, they find the advisory increased women’s: knowledge of both the benefits and risks of consuming fish while pregnant, ability to differentiate fish by their MeHg content, and knowledge of specific low and high-MeHg fish. This suggests the advisory has the potential of reducing MeHg-related health risks while avoiding the drop in fish consumption show in other studies.



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School of Economics
5782 Winslow Hall, Room 206
Orono, ME 04469
Phone: (207) 581-3154 | Fax: (207) 581-4278E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System