I currently have two openings for Postdoctoral Researchers:

I am an assistant professor in the School of Global Policy and Strategy and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of California, San Diego. My research and teaching center on the engineering implications and institutional conflicts inherent in deploying low-carbon energy at scale. I have a particular interest in understanding the political systems of Asia (with a focus on China and India), as well as the western U.S.

My research topics include renewable resource assessments, power system operations, and political economy of markets:

Research topics

I welcome inquiries by prospective PhD applicants and postdoctoral fellows, as well as UC San Diego students interested in conducting research. Consult my list of academic programs and mentoring opportunities.

I am a faculty member with the 21st Century China Center and the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy, both located at UC San Diego. I am also an associate in the Environment and Natural Resources Program at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center, and a fellow with the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy, hosted at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Read more here.


Power market reform in China: Motivations, progress, and recommendations

Guo, H., Davidson, M. R., Chen, Q., Zhang, D., Jiang, N., Xia, Q., Kang, C., and Zhang, X. (2020). Energy Policy

China’s electricity demand has grown rapidly over only two decades and is currently the largest in the world. This was largely owing to a framework of regulation in which governments regulated prices and quantities, and there was ample incentive for investment. As the growth in electricity demand has slowed and... [Read More]

Creating Subnational Climate Institutions in China

Davidson, M. R. (2019). Discussion Paper. Harvard Project on Climate Agreements.

China’s party-state consists of multiple nested hierarchies of bureaucrats and officials accountable to a common leadership, yet it also gives substantial autonomy to lower levels of government in pursuing various objectives. By some fiscal measures, China is the most decentralized country in the world. As such, China’s particular flavor of... [Read More]

Avoiding Pitfalls in China’s Electricity Sector Reforms

Davidson, M. R. and Ignacio Pérez-Arriaga. (2020). The Energy Journal.

China has recently reinvigorated reforms to its electricity sector, focusing on increasing the role of markets and improving regulation. While restructuring an electricity sector is difficult and can require years of detailed planning, China’s approach relies upon broad central guidelines with many details and initiatives left to provincial governments. We... [Read More]

Technology Integration in China’s Electricity System: Central Targets and Local Challenges

Davidson, M. R. (2019). In Policy, Regulation and Innovation in China's Electricity and Telecom Industries.

China’s state-directed technology development and deployment programs have led to unprecedented adoption of advanced technologies in its electricity sector. However, signs of inefficient capital allocation are widespread, such as continued coal plant capacity build-out amidst slowing electricity demand growth and underutilization of renewable energy investments. The separation of technology programs... [Read More]