David Vail

Adams-Catlin Professor of Economics Emeritus

Fall 2010

  • Sustaining Maine's Northern Forest: Economy, Ecology, and Community (ECON 016)
Phone 2077253596
Title Adams-Catlin Professor of Economics, Emeritus
Department Economics
Work Location 207 Dudley Coe Building
E-Mail dvail@bowdoin.edu
David Vail

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Current and Recent Activities 

Since 2004, David has co-directed the Maine Center for Economic Policy's project, Spreading Prosperity to All of Maine, exploring economic and community development strategies for Maine's distressed "rim counties."  He has authored or edited the project's three major reports as well as numerous shorter articles.  The project has been the subject of a Maine Public Television "Mainewatch" program and has received financial support from the Northern Forest Partnership, the Maine Community Foundation, the Broad Reach Fun, and the Betterment Fund.

David serves on the Maine Woods Consortium's Tourism Committee and co-directs its Maine Woods Tourism Quality Label initiative.  This initiative is backed by a US Department of Agriculture RBEG grant and by the Betterment Fund.  It builds on David's five year collaboration with the Swedish Ecotourism Association and its Nature's Best brand.

David is a member of several boards, including The Swedish Program at Stockholm University, the Maine Policy Review, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., The Chewonki Foundation, and Maine Huts and Trails.  His current advisory roles include the four Maine tribes' Wabanaki Cultural Tourism Initiative; the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Leader certification program; the University of Maine's Center for Tourism Research and Outreach; and the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust.

david-vail In the recent past, David served on several Maine and New England advisory bodies: the Maine House Speaker's Tax Reform Advisory Commission (2002); the Governor's Steering Committee on Natural Resource-based Industries (2004-06); the Gulf of Maine Council's Sustainable Tourism Committee (2003-06); the Maine Department of Conservatin's Green Infrastructure Task Force (2006); the Governor's Council on Maine's Quality of Place (advisor, 2007-08); and the New England Governors' Blue Ribbon Commission on Land Conservation (Maine scientific advisor, 2009-10).

A sample of David's recent publications includes a monograph, Amenity Investments and Tourism Destination Development (Maine Center for Economic Policy 2010); a journal article, "Prospects for a Rural Population Rebound: Can Quality of Place Lure In-migrants?" (Maine Policy Review 2010); and a newspaper op-ed, "More to tourism than marketing and mottoes," Bangor Daily News 2011).

David's favorite pastimes include organic gardening, sea kayaking and masters swimming.  (He currently holds New England Masters records in ten events and Maine Masters records in seventeen events for his age group.  In 2010 he posted national top ten rankings in ten events.)


PhD in Economics, Yale University (1971)
    Thesis: The Public Sector as Stimulus of Innovation in African Smallholder
BA in International Affairs, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School (1965)
    Magna cum laude 
    Omicron Delta Epsilon, national honor society in economics