Who opposes a Green New Deal and why? Can joining a mission-driven cooperative free dairy farmers from cut-throat competition and allow them to cooperate for economic empowerment and environmental conservation? Why does the Montana Crow Nation embrace coal while the nearby Northern Cheyenne do not? Why does the Farm Bureau support CAFO (factory farm) policies that hurt most of its members? Underlying these concrete questions are themes of identity, cognition, and institutions. I focus on these themes in my research on the intersections between economic democracy and environmental justice in capitalist political-economies. I am very interested in how social hierarchies (e.g., race, gender, nation) and cultural values (e.g., regarding cooperation vs. individualism) co-evolve and how these structural forces influence collective action to protect the environment and resist economic concentration. My research projects are methodologically diverse, integrating quantitative and qualitative analyses, sometimes using spatial data.
I'm currently working in three areas. 1) In ongoing experimental work, I am refining theory on what I call anti-environmental masculine overcompensation. This line of research was sparked by field observations about how certain masculinities pose obstacles for believing in human-caused climate change. 2) My dissertation, in the broad area of re-embedding social values into the economy, explores how economic institutions that intentionally cultivate community can (and cannot) promote virtuous cycles of cooperation among organic dairy farmers, both to improve environmental stewardship and for organizing to protect themselves from oversupply. 3) In preparation for future work, I am developing a collaborative project in the area of internal colonialism and environmental justice, documenting tensions among Native American communities regarding fossil fuel extraction affecting reservation and treaty lands.
In my former life as an environmental economist, I focused on spatial bio-econometric modeling of social-ecological systems, including in the Brazilian Amazon, the northern lakes of Wisconsin, and mixed agricultural landscapes.