Business professor Oak McCoy offers expertise on multiple recent occasions

Headshot of Oak McCoy
Oak McCoy, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics.

B. Oak McCoy, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics in the University of New England College of Business, is experiencing a wave of recent scholarly activity.

On April 4, McCoy presented a paper at the World Social Science Association Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. In it, he proposed a modern Job Guarantee program inspired by the historic Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), with a keen eye on addressing contemporary environmental challenges.

This paper posits the environmental crisis as both a cause and a consequence of broader systemic issues, amplifying socioeconomic disparities while being intensified by the structural limitations of a market economy, McCoy explained. Drawing historical parallels from the CCC's role in mitigating the impacts of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, McCoy suggests that a contemporary adaptation of such a program could offer holistic solutions to today's interlinked crises.

“By reimagining the CCC within a modern framework, the proposal advocates for employment strategies that focus on sustainable and equitable interventions,” he said. “This approach seeks to uncouple job creation from traditional market dependencies, envisioning a future where socioeconomic and environmental systems are restructured to enhance resilience and equity.”

Through this lens, McCoy said, the paper underscores the potential of a Job Guarantee program to serve as a transformative policy tool in addressing the complexities of the current global polycrisis, with the environmental challenge at its heart.

In addition to his conference presentation, McCoy recently co-authored a paper published in March by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College working paper series. The paper, which scrutinizes the impact of federal policy on gender inequality, is set to be revised and peer-reviewed for publication in the Journal of Economic Issues later this year.

“We argue that Social Security has significantly evolved to provide crucial institutional support that enhances economic security for older women and contributes broadly to diminishing gender inequality,” McCoy stated. “The paper presents Social Security not just as a retirement benefit program but as a pivotal framework that, through institutional changes over time, has addressed and continues to address the disparities between genders, particularly in the context of economic security in later life.”

McCoy frames this evolution of federal policy as emblematic of how institutional adjustments can mitigate longstanding inequalities, showcasing the potential for policy adaptations to serve equity objectives.

In addition to his scholarly pursuits, McCoy has served as a faculty expert regarding the recent boom in Maine business due to the April 8 Great American Eclipse. He has been quoted in Newsweek, WGME CBS 13, and NEWS CENTER Maine.