Know what an economist looks like? Find out at Maine Science Festival

Six University of Maine-affiliated faculty and students will take part in the eight-member panel “This is What an Economist Looks Like” 1:30–2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21 in Meeting Room 3 at the Cross Insurance Center, 515 Main St., Bangor.

The free, public event is part of the sixth Maine Science Festival being held March 18–22, at sites in Bangor and Orono.   

Each panelist will present a five-minute, narrative-driven talk about why they became economists and how their research helps real people make tough decisions. The presentations may dispel myths that economists care about money rather than people, and competition rather than collaboration.

Scheduled panelists are: 

Megan Bailey, research associate at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at UMaine, examines the role of social capital in economic development and decision-making in rural areas — particularly local food systems and the influence of information campaigns on attitudes and behavior. Bailey earned her bachelor’s in economics and her master’s in natural resource economics and policy at UMaine.

Kathleen P. Bell, a professor in UMaine’s School of Economics, specializes in environmental economics and sustainability science. Bell and her students research individuals, organizations, and markets to improve management of land and water resources, strengthen regional and community economies, and protect public health. She collaborates with biophysical scientists and stakeholder partners. Bell also will moderate the panel. 

Keith Evans, an assistant professor of marine resource economics in the School of Economics and School of Marine Sciences at UMaine, concentrates on environmental and natural resource economics, including rights-based fisheries management, cooperation in the commons, marine aquaculture, marine policy, and nonmarket valuation methods. He collaborates with coastal and marine resource managers to better align his research with real-world policy questions.

Taylor Lange, a Ph.D. candidate in ecology and environmental sciences at UMaine, concentrates on common pool resource management and cooperation science. He’s also completing a master’s degree in resource economics and policy through the School of Economics. Lange explores cooperation among small food-buying clubs in New England and its relationship to club success and failure.

Jonathan Malacarne, an assistant professor of agricultural economics in UMaine’s School of Economics, grew up in rural western Pennsylvania, served in the Peace Corps, and conducted extensive fieldwork in eastern Africa. His research is focused on removing barriers to opportunity and increasing resilience for rural communities in Maine.

Caroline Noblet, an associate professor of economics at UMaine, researches behavioral and experimental environmental economics with a focus on how people process and utilize information. The Maine native works on projects that examine the role of risk perceptions, choice architecture, valuation of the environment and environmental motivation in natural resource decision-making.  

Amanda Rector, state economist since 2011, conducts ongoing analysis of economic and demographic conditions to inform policy decisions. Rector is a member of the Maine’s Revenue Forecasting Committee and is Gov. Janet Mills’ liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Kanae Tokunaga, an associate research scientist at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, applies various economic research methods to coastal and marine resource management issues. She seeks to understand the efficiency, efficacy and stability of different types of fisheries management institutions, and how they may be impacted by climate change and other environmental changes.