Trostel interviewed on ABC/Fox News

Policy Center and School of Economics Professor Philip Trostel was interviewed for a story which aired March 17 on his research on Mainers’ saving for retirement. Trostel’s recent report for the AARP examines the fiscal costs of insufficient saving for retirement. His study indicates that Mainers aren’t saving as much as they should. Trostel estimates the future costs to taxpayers from new retirees in Maine and in the United States.

The news story appears here:

The final report on “The Fiscal Implications of Inadequate Saving for Retirement” is available for download.

MCS Library Scholarship awarded to Waterman

UMaine senior Madison Waterman has been awarded the Margaret Chase Smith Library Scholarship for 2017. Madison is a Political Science/Spanish double major. She will be conducting research for her Political Science capstone project examining the perceptions of women as candidates for national office.

Madison plans to examine Senator Smith’s archives related to her nomination and presidential campaign. Materials to be reviewed include internal campaign materials, as
well as transcripts of speeches and interviews she gave about her campaign. Madison says she will “examine the ways in which Senator Smith presented herself as
a candidate and how she was treated by the media and the Republican Party,” and plans to compare her candidacy with that of the first female Democratic candidate to have her name placed in nomination, Rep. Shirley Chisholm.

Madison was just awarded this scholarship and has already visited the MCS Library for some preliminary research of Sen. Smith’s presidential nomination file, her speeches, and scrapbooks, and is “very excited to start writing”.

This scholarship supports up to two UMaine students to engage in research using the archival or museum collections of the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan.

Trostel’s Report on Retirement Savings in Maine is Available

A final report by Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and School of Economics Professor Philip Trostel on “The Fiscal Implications of Inadequate Saving for Retirement” is now available. This study estimates the future costs to taxpayers from new retirees in Maine and in the United States.

According to AARP Maine, one-third of Mainers 65+ rely entirely on Social Security, an average annual income of $14,000, and the typical working household in Maine has only $3,000 saved for retirement. The lack of personal saving for retirement means many of the costs of retirement for are covered through government spending, by transfer payments such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, various types of cash assistance, energy assistance, housing subsidies, and Supplemental Security Income.

Trostel’s study looks at the fiscal costs (to federal/state/local governments) of “new retirees” (people turning 65 in coming years) by calculating transfer payments (cash and in-kind) to this population. He estimates that in Maine, public-assistance spending on the retirement-age population for 2016 was $164 million, with about $28 million of the fiscal cost financed within the state. Continuing demographic change (i.e., baby boomers reaching retirement age) will cause these costs to rise substantially.

The fiscal cost from the retirement-age population does not have to grow to such a magnitude, however. Increasing retirement income  through greater pre-retirement savings can substantially reduce taxpayer contributions for public assistance. Trostel estimates that, nationally, an additional $1,000 in retirement income for every retiree would lead to $3.9 billion in fiscal savings by 2032. An additional $1,000 in retirement income per retiree in Maine would create $15.6 million in fiscal savings in 2032. Results emphasized in the report are for Maine and the United States, and projections are for the 15 years from 2018 through 2032.

Both a policy brief and the full report are available for download.

State Treasurer Terry Hayes, Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow

Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes visited UMaine on February 23 as part of the Center’s Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows (DMPF) Program. The program brings prominent Maine policy makers to campus for a day to teach an undergraduate class, engage with faculty on research and public policy issues, and meet with UMaine administration and graduate students. Her visit was hosted by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and co-sponsored by the Maine Business School.

During her visit, Treasurer Hayes guest lectured in a Foundations of Leadership class, met with faculty in the Maine Business School, took a student-led tour of the Maine Business School’s Capital Markets training lab, and met with several UMaine administrators including Dr. Ivan Manev, Dean of the Maine Business School; Jake Ward, Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development; and Sarah Doheny, Director of Student Financial Aid.

Terry Hayes was re-elected by a bipartisan majority at the Joint Convention of the 128th Maine Legislature to the office of State Treasurer for 2017-2018. She is the first Unenrolled Treasurer in Maine’s history.

New Issue of Maine Policy Review

The latest issue of Maine Policy Review is now available for download on Digital Commons. MPR Volume 25, number 2, features an essay from Maine Sen. Angus King on climate change and articles on  topics of healthcare, bond referenda, international trade, and municipal waste reduction. Commentaries address the Arctic Council, the presidential election, and financial literacy. This issue also includes the 2016 Margaret Chase Smith Library high school essay contest winners.

Terry Hayes is Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow Feb. 23rd

Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes will visit UMaine on Thursday, February 23, as the next Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow. Hayes served in the Maine House of Representatives from 2006 through 2014, representing parts of Oxford County, and was recently re-elected by a bi-partisan majority as Maine State Treasurer. During her day at UMaine she will meet with students, faculty, and researchers on campus. A public reception will be held at the University Club in Fogler Library at 4:00PM. Her visit is sponsored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and the Maine Business School.

Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows are prominent Maine individuals with past or current careers as policy makers in the state. The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center brings these individuals to campus for a day to teach an undergraduate class, engage faculty about research and public policy, and meet with UMaine administration and graduate students. More information is available on the webpage of the Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows Program.

Maine Government Summer Internship Program is accepting applications

The Maine Government Summer Internship Program is accepting applications for the summer of 2017. The internship provides an opportunity for students to spend 12 weeks in full-time, paid positions in Maine state, local or county government positions. The application deadline is March 1. Students must be in at least their second year of college. Students enrolled in a Maine college or students from Maine enrolled elsewhere are eligible, The 2017 program will run from May 30 to Aug. 18.

Links to the online application are available on the internship section of our website. The program accepts applications from students at the same time as it accepts requests from agencies who wish to host an intern.

Student Application
State Application
Municipal/Regional Application


Trostel Commentary on Higher Ed Benefits Published in Chronicle of Higher Education

MCS Policy Center and School of Economics Professor Phil Trostel’s commentary on the public benefits of higher education appears in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education. Trostel has focused recent research on measuring benefits of a higher education. In this article he states that in addition to increasing graduates’ wages, health status and length of life, having completed a higher degree leads to the following public benefits: increased productivity, increased financing of government-provided goods,  increased charitable giving, and increased civic engagement. Trostel notes that higher education is not only a private good, with benefits accruing to the student, but is, as importantly, a public good with important public benefits to society.

Read the article Beyond the College Earnings Premium. Way Beyond.

Philip Trostel is the author of the recent Lumina Foundation report “It’s Not Just the Money: The Benefits of College Education to Individuals and to Society.”

Policy Center work on trade deal noted in Bangor Daily News

Professor Phil Trostel’s 2016 research on the impacts of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Maine was mentioned in an article in today’s Bangor Daily News.

President Donald Trump on Monday officially withdrew the United States from negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade deal proposed by former President Barack Obama’s administration to lower tariffs and establish new industry standards between the United States and 11 other countries. The study by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine had  projected a modest impact on the state of Maine.

Read the BDN article Here’s what Trump spiking an Asia trade deal could mean for Maine

New article on biofuels for transportation energy

A new article discussing the “Implications of U.S. biofuels policy for sustainable transportation energy in Maine and the Northeast” is published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews by authors Binod Neupane of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  and Jonathan Rubin of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.

Drop-in biofuels that are compatible with the existing vehicle and retail infrastructure continue to receive great attention due to their promise in addressing climate change and energy security concerns stemming from use of petroleum-based fuels. This paper discusses current drop-in biofuel production technologies and assesses relevant biofuel policies in the U.S., particularly those impacting forest biomass in Maine and the Northeast. In this context, authors examine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) policy and its definition of biomass which favors biomass from plantations regardless of actual ecological impacts on biodiversity, soil and water quality. They argue that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should consider revising the definition of biomass eligible for renewable fuel credits to include sustainably managed natural forests.