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Michael Toma - Georgia Southern University. Statesboro, GA, US

Michael Toma

Professor | Georgia Southern University


Professor Toma researches regional economics and public choice




Michael Toma Publication Michael Toma Publication






Toma holds a doctorate degree in economics from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and began teaching in Armstrong's Department of Economics in 1997 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 2003 and to professor in 2008. Since 2000, Toma has been director of Armstrong's Center for Regional Analysis, a student- and faculty-staffed applied research group focused on the Savannah-area economy that works with many local partners on special initiatives, customized applied business research and impact studies. In addition, the Center publishes the quarterly Coastal Empire Economic Monitor, a closely watched economic report. Toma's community ties are also strong in the area. He serves on the Board of Directors for United Way of the Coastal Empire and on the organization's Executive Committee as chair of the Community Investments Committee. He has also served as treasurer of the Coastal Georgia Greenway organization and as a member of Step-Up Savannah's evaluation team.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Macro & Monetary Economics

Regional Economics

Public Choice

Accomplishments (5)

President, Academy of Economics and Finance


Fuller E. Callaway Professorial Chair, University System of Georgia,

2012 - Present

Armstrong Distinguished Faculty Service to the Academic Discipline


President-Elect and Program Chair, Academy of Economics and Finance


Service Fellow, Academy of Economics and Finance


Education (3)

George Mason University: Ph.D, Economics 1996

Miami University: M.A., Economics 1989

Miami University: B.S., Business & Economics 1987

Media Appearances (3)

Georgia Southern’s Economic Monitor reports local economy up, but slower employment growth for second quarter of 2018

Connect Savannah  


“Continued strength in the labor market lifted the index while the housing market mostly moved sideways during the quarter,” stated Michael Toma, Ph.D., Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Economics and director of the Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER). “Overall, expansion in the regional economy continued at an above-average pace. However, expect slowing growth through the remainder of 2018.”...

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Savannah port expansion could mean replacement for Talmadge bridge

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  


Michael Toma, an economist at Georgia Southern University, said the ports expansion projects, and new inland rail ports across the state, are all about increasing efficiency. Together, they will make the Savannah terminal faster and more cost-competitive with other ports. For importers, exporters and shippers, time is money. “The whole idea there is to increase the speed with which these containers can be handled and processed,” Toma said...

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$127 Million Savannah Port Rail Hub Expected to Take 200,000 Trucks Off State’s Freeways

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  online


In Savannah, warehouse vacancy also is a scant 3%, and demand for space is high, said Michael Toma, a Georgia Southern University economist. Cargo services are running larger ships and making fewer port calls, but to accommodate the larger ships means investing in infrastructure both at the harbor and on land.

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Articles (5)

Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment in Central and South America and the Caribbean Islands

Journal of International Business Research

Kathleen Henry, Yassaman Saadatmand, Michael Toma

2015 FDI inflows are sought by many underdeveloped economies. Weak economies, specifically of those countries that are still developing, have relied on FDI for at least ten years to provide national savings, capital inflows, and economic activity. Competition for FDI has increased because of the economic benefits. This study provides some recent evidence regarding the determinants of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Central and South America and the Caribbean islands. For this study an unbalanced panel model is used for a data sample of 27 countries covering the time period of 2000-2008. This study yields the following results: rule of law, encompassing political risk factors and the quality of contract regulation, has a positive and significant impact on FDI while total natural resources rent is negatively associated with FDI. An open market to trade appears to be an important determinant of FDI as well as less reliance on workers’ remittances as a substitute for income.

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I Feel Like Shooting Myself in the Face after taking this God-forsaken Class: The Effects of RateMyProfessors. com on University Course Registration

Advances in Management and Applied Economics

Jeremiah Johnson, David Hoover, Jason Beck, Michael Toma

2014 This study examines the effects of RateMyProfessors. com professor ratings on student decisions related to the Fall 2012 course registration period. Statistical techniques including ordinary least squares regression and survival analysis are employed to model course registration. We operate within an applied economic framework in which the supply and demand for course section seating capacity do not fully equalize due to various physical constraints as well as the existence of imperfect information. By further understanding the factors underpinning student decision making, university departmental management is better able to estimate changes in student demand. RateMyProfessors. com reported measures of overall quality, easiness, and attractiveness are determined to be positively related, in varying magnitude, to course enrollment.

Real Estate Brokerage Firm Characteristics and Home Sales Price Outcomes

International Journal of Business and Social Science

Jason Beck, Michael Toma, Anew Page

2013 This paper examines the effect of real estate brokerage firm characteristics, such as size and national affiliation, on home sales outcomes. It uses a hedonic pricing model with data from the Chatham County, Georgia real estate market from 2006 to 2010. The hedonic pricing model yields results that suggest larger brokerage firms obtain higher sales prices, while national affiliation is associated with lower sales price. The results also control for internal and external housing characteristics that are capitalized into the real sales prices of the housing transactions analyzed.

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The war on drugs and crime rates

Journal of Business & Economics Research

Yassaman Saadatmand, Michael Toma, Jeremy Choquette

2012 This paper analyzes the effects of the War on Drugs on crime rates. Many in the field of law enforcement believe that incarcerating drug offenders reduces crime. However, time-series analysis of four types of crime rates in the United States does not support this view. Using seven explanatory variables, including federal spending on the Drug Enforcement Agency, incarceration rates for drug offenders, and abortion rates, the results suggest the incarceration of drug offenders causes a crowding-out effect in prisons, releasing non-drug offenders and thereby potentially increasing, rather than reducing crime.

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The housing price bubble in a suburban Georgia setting: Using the hedonic pricing model in the New South

Journal of Applied Business Research

Jason Beck, Joshua Fralick, Michael Toma

2012 This study applies a hedonic pricing model to the rapidly developing suburban housing market adjacent to the Savannah Historic Landmark District in the downtown area of Savannah, Georgia. Using OLS estimation, the hedonic pricing model yields results clearly tracing out the magnitude of the time-related housing price premium in the suburban market analyzed for the years from 2005 to 2010. The results also control for internal and external housing characteristics that are capitalized into the real sales prices of the housing transactions analyzed.