Michael Hillard Ph.D.


Office Location

304A Payson Smith Hall, Portland Campus



Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1988
  • MS in Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1986
  • BA in Social Thought and Political Economy, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1980


Dr. Hillard has taught at the University of Southern Maine for the past 33 years, and is the Director of the University of Southern Maine’s new Food Studies Program. He attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, receiving a BA in 1980 (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), a Master's in Economics in 1986, and a PhD in Economics in 1988. He taught at Wellesley College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst prior to coming to USM. He has published widely in the fields of labor relations, labor history and the political economy of labor in academic journals including Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas, Labor History, Review of Radical Political Economics, Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations, Journal of Economic Issues; and Historical Studies in Industrial Relation, and is co-editor with Jonathan Goldstein of Heterodox Macroeconomics: Keynes, Marx, and Globalization (Routledge Press, 2009). His essay, “Labor at Mother Warren,” won the Labor History’s “Best Essay, U.S. Topic” prize for 2004 and his article “Capitalist Class Agency and the New Deal Order,” co-authored with Richard McIntyre (University of Rhode Island) won the Review of Radical Political Economics Best Essay award for 2013. He has also written over 20 op-ed and special essays for The Boston Globe, The Portland Press Herald, Bangor Daily News, The Lewiston Sun-Journal, and The Nation. Professor Hillard works actively with the Maine food-based business sector and also actively participates in economic public policy debates on issues affecting Maine working people, including periodic testimony to the Maine legislature. 

His manuscript on the history of Maine’s paper and logging workers, The Fall of the Paper Plantation, is currently under review at Cornell University’s ILR Press with publication expected in early 2020. It tells the story of the rise and fall of Maine’s historic paper industry, with a focus on the institutional histories of its major companies, work life and labor history, and the ways in which it typified eras of American capitalism.  The Fall draws on more than Having 150 oral history interviews conducted by the author. Professor Hillard also co-produced two related radio documentaries, “Madawaska Rebellion” and “Remembering Mother Warren,” and has a website on USM’ Digital Commons containing many of the interviews.