• Ph.D. Economics, University of Oregon, 1995
  • M.S. University of Oregon, 1994
  • B.S. United States Military Academy, 1985

Before COA

Davis received a B.S. in Political Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1985, after which he served for five years in the field artillery and completed Airborne, Air Assault, and Jungle schools. He left the U.S. Army as a Captain in 1990, and earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Oregon in 1995. While at the University of Oregon he received the Kliensorge Award for Teaching Excellence and served as a consultant to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its study of the economic impact of critical habitat designation for the endangered marbled murrelet.

Scholarly and Creative Interests

Davis was originally trained in neoclassical microeconomics, but his research interests have expanded to include Development Economics, Ecological Economics, New Institutional Economics, Food Systems, Cooperation and Cooperatives, and Complexity.


Davis’ teaching and research in Yucatán led him to develop an alternative to cost-benefit analysis that better incorporates community sustainability into project assessment. He has presented papers that model the human ecology of forests, expand the concepts of community sustainability, develop tools for ecotourism planning and operations, and examine the economics of community supported fisheries. Davis completed a year-long, NSF-supported research project with a group of other COA faculty and students that examined the economic, social, and environmental feasibility of increasing the use of wood for home heating in Hancock County. He has consulted for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Chewonki Semester School, the Training and Development Corporation, the Union River Watershed Coalition, the Northern Forest Alliance, and Friends of Acadia. His publication on local food systems and community development is included as a chapter in an anthology on the topic, and he has also published on the cooperative economy in Maine. Davis has been a keynote speaker or invited panelist in the areas of cooperative business, community supported agriculture, ecological economics, and liberal arts education. Davis’ interest in the economic institutions of inequality led to his current research focus on elite manipulation of mass politics and culture, which he integrates with the study of complexity in economic and other social systems.

More About Me

Davis’ non-academic interests include sailing, rowing, and resilient living.

Community Engagement and Advocacy

Davis has served on the boards of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Good Tern Food Coop, and the Cooperative Development Institute, and on the Policy Committee of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. He currently serves on the interim board of the Bar Harbor Student Housing Cooperative and the board of Kids Corner.


Davis has published in Southern Economic Journal, Human Ecology Review, Ecological Economics, Community Development, and the Maine Policy Review.