Charlie S. Colgan

Media Expertise:

  • The Maine and U.S. Economies
  • Economics of the Environment
  • Demography of Maine
  • Transportation
  • The Economies of Coastal Regions

Research Interests

  • Regional Economic Change
  • The Spatial Distribution of Economic Change
  • Impacts of Innovation and Research
  • The Economy-Environment Connection
  • Forecasting and Simulation Modeling

Research Projects

  • Sustainable Urban Regions Project (SURP)
  • New England Sustainability Consortium: Safe Beaches & Shellfish Beds

University of Maine, Ph.D. (Economic History)
Colby College, B.A. (History and Government)


Charles Colgan is an economist, policy analyst, and faculty member at the University of Southern Maine’s (USM) Muskie School of Public Service. Colgan’s research examines employment trends, transportation needs, income discrepancies related to economic development, and the spatial distribution of economic and population change in Maine and in U.S. coastal regions. Before coming to USM, he served for 12 years in the Maine State Planning Office, including in positions as Maine State Economist and Special Assistant to the Governor for International Trade.

Colgan’s research with the Mitchell Center focuses on urban landscape change in Maine in the metropolitan regions of Portland and Bangor. Colgan’s team is building large-scale computer simulation models of these two regions using software that transforms the interactions between land use, the economy, transportation, and the environment into visual representations. Colgan uses these models in his work with stakeholders to examine the sustainability effects of scenarios that represent policy choices facing these metro regions in the future. The project’s emphasis on the importance of models as predictors of change has allowed students the opportunity to actively participate in the research process. His research has resulted in the report “Changing Maine: Maine’s Changing Population and Housing 1990-2010” and a companion volume focused on Southern Maine.

Colgan’s research has been funded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Maine EPSCoR, National Science Foundation, and the Senator George J. Mitchell Center.

Colgan has been quoted in regional newspapers, magazines and television stations. His research has been published in several journals including Ocean and Coastal Management, Growth and Change, and the Maine Policy Review. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics.

Selected Publications

Charles S. Colgan, “The Ocean Economy of the United States: Measurement, Distribution, & Trends,” Ocean & Coastal Management 71 (2012): 334-343.

Caroline L. Noblet, Kathleen P. Bell, Charles Colgan, and Mario Teisl, “Economic Development and Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative,” Maine Policy Review 21, no. 1 (2012): 128-136.

Bulent Acma, Ernesto Aguayo-Tellez, Jeffrey Alwang, Nathan Anderson, Carlos Azzoni, Natalia Barbosa, Tim Bartik, Charles S. Colgan et al., “Growth and Change Paper Reviewers/Referees, 2011,” Growth and Change 42, no. 4 (2011): 680-683.

Susan J. Cook, Charles S. Colgan, and Kathleen Ashley, “The Call for Internationalization of the University,” Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines 7, no. 2 (2010): 10-13.

Judith T. Kildow, Charles S. Colgan, and Linwood Pendleton. “The Changing Coastal and Ocean Economies of the United States Gulf of Mexico,” in Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota: Ocean and Coastal Economy, Volume 2 (2009): 47.

Judith Tegger Kildow, Charles S. Colgan, and Jason Scorse, State of the U.S. Ocean and Coastal Economies (National Ocean Economics Program, 2009).