Bailey is a recipient of National Science Foundation ILI and CCLI Grants, and is a Research Associate of the New York State Museum. His current research focuses on the history of igneous and tectonic activity in the northeastern United States, and on the mineralogy of New York State. He is the author of numerous peer reviewed papers, conference abstracts, and field trip guides.
His research interests concern hunter-gatherer adaptation to desert environments and since 1978 he has conducted archaeological studies in the intermountain region of the western United States. Between 1986 and 2007, he co-directed the archaeological field school with his wife, Professor of Anthropology Charlotte Beck, focusing on the Paleo-Indian occupation of central and eastern Nevada. With Beck he published the monograph, The Archaeology of the Eastern Nevada Paleoarchaic, and has co-authored numerous book chapters, and articles in such journals as American Antiquity, Journal of Archaeological Science, and Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, which report the results of his research program. He was awarded the Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for excellence in teaching from the College.