Now showing items 41-60 of 2308

    • From Oil to Assets: Managing Alaska's New Wealth

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      Low oil prices always capture headlines in Alaska, because the state government has run mostly on oil revenues for 20 years. So the slide in oil prices this year has once again made us think Alaska is becoming poor, and we worry about more budget cuts and an economic downturn. But two big changes in recent years make Alaska’s current fiscal condition better than it might seem. Sustainable revenues (and spending) are higher than we estimated a few years ago. And with a growing share of revenues from asset earnings, the state has the chance to make its year-to-year revenue flow more stable. Still, despite this good news, problems remain. The state’s fiscal policy has been to divide general purpose revenues into two categories: oil revenues have mostly paid General Fund expenses, and Permanent Fund earnings have been used to pay dividends to Alaskans (as well as to inflation-proof and build the fund balance). Low oil prices gouged a hole in the General Fund budget in 1998, while a strong stock market boosted Permanent Fund earnings. In the following pages we discuss in more detail the good financial news for Alaska and how we estimate “sustainable” spending. We also look at the choices Alaska has for keeping its finances healthy in the long run.
    • Fiscal and Socio-economic Impact of Marginal Oil Field Development in Alaska: Does It Pay Its Own Way?

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1996)
      As oil industry interest turns toward Alaskan oil fields with higher unit costs of production and, consequently, lower state revenues per barrel, an important public policy question is whether these fields on state lands are able to "pay their own way." This is loosely defined to mean that the benefits to the state from the development of the publicly owned resource exceed the public costs associated with development. A related question is how much state tax and royalty policy can change in an attempt to stimulate marginal field development and still provide a net economic benefit to the state. This paper develops a methodology for analyzing the conditions under which an oil field development produces a net economic benefit to the state. The model calculates the public sector costs associated with field development and compares them to the public revenues generated by the oil production from the field. The methodology demonstrates that whether a project produces net economic benefits depends not only upon the characteristics of the economy, the characteristics of the oil field, and the existing or anticipated fiscal regime but also on the benefits and costs chosen for inclusion in the analysis. In particular, the question of which revenues and which costs to attribute to the development is an important determinant of the result. The paper presents an analysis using a hypothetical marginal oil field in Alaska as an example. This example demonstrates that using the definitions of costs and benefits commonly associated with other natural resource activities in the state, marginal oil field development is likely to be able to "pay its own way" under a variety of fiscal regimes. This paper was presented at the International Conference on Petroleum Fiscal Regimes in Anchorage, Alaska on May 3, 1996 .
    • Reducing and Recycling Hazardous Materials in Alaska: A Summary of Selected Commercial Hazardous Waste Minimization Programs

      DeRoche, Patricia; Relyea, April; Siver, Darla; Larson, Eric (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      A wide variety of businesses, manufacturers, institutions, military posts, small businesses, and agencies in Alaska regularly handle hazardous wastes at their facilities. Many of these facilities have chosen voluntarily to provide information about their efforts to minimize hazardous wastes. The information they provide helps to encourage and to expand hazardous waste minimization efforts statewide. Furthermore, the information supports the state's efforts to work cooperatively with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help businesses and agencies comply with federal hazardous waste guidelines.' The purpose of this report is to provide a summary of the information provided by facilities in Alaska. Our analysis is based on information reported by facilities in their "Waste Minimization/Pollution Prevention Supplements to Annual Hazardous Waste Reports" for the last three years. In addition we have conducted in-depth telephone interviews with selected oil and gas and govemment facilities to leam in more detail how they manage hazardous materials. This report expands in several ways on a study we completed last year. In this new study we've looked in more detail at the written responses of the pollution prevention reports; we've compiled data for more than one year; and we've analyzed the results of our telephone interviews with facilities to learn more about the unique characteristics of waste management. In Section II of this report, we describe the most common wastes handled by facilities based on their responses to the pollution prevention reports. InSection III, we describe the characteristics ofhazardous waste minimization assessments and plans based on responses in telephone interviews and the pollution prevention reports.
    • Working for Children: Kids Count Alaska

      Dinges, Norman; Frazier, Rosyland; Larson, Eric (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1996)
      Many Americans are worried about children in the U.S. growing up in poverty, in broken homes, and in dangerous neighborhoods. Policymakers and others with responsibilities for children's well-being need reliable information about conditions affecting children. Alaska in 1990 had relatively few babies born with low birth weights (which can mean developmental problems later), with little regional variation. The share of children in poverty statewide in 1990 was 11 percent, but regional shares varied from 6 to 24 percent. More than one in five Alaska families were headed by single parents in 1990, with the regional share as high as one in three. Overall, we hope the indicators compiled and disseminated by Kids Count Alaska will become an important tool that Alaskans in public and private life can use in developing policies and programs to help children and families.
    • Kids Count Alaska 1998-1999

      Dinges, Norman; Lampman, Claudia; Ragan, Shawna (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
      How are Alaska’s children doing at the end of the twentieth century? Many are doing just fine—growing up healthy and safe. But others are not so fortunate. They live in poverty; they grow up without their fathers; they drop out of school; they have babies when they are children themselves. Too many—and even one is too many—die accidentally or intentionally. To help Alaska’s children, policymakers and others need reliable information about conditions affecting children. In the past decade or so, scientists have discovered that babies are born with the raw materials for brain development—about 100 million brain cells—but that most brain development happens after birth. What babies see, hear, touch, smell, and taste causes connections to form between brain cells. These connections are the wiring of the brain, allowing children to learn. Overall, scientists point out that we still have much to learn about the brain. But there is strong evidence about both the potential and the vulnerability of young children’s minds. To give children the best chance at life, adults must try to create safe, loving, interesting worlds for them.
    • Kids Count Alaska 1997

      Dinges, Norman; Lampman, Claudia; Garret, Ann; Atlis, Mera; Efimova, Olga; Hill, Alexandra; Minton, Barbara (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
      From 1991 through 1995, nearly 55,400 babies were born in Alaska. The overwhelming majority (89 percent) were born to mothers at least 20 years old. But that still leaves more than 6,000 babies born to teenage mothers during the first half of the 1990s. And more than a third of those babies were born to mothers under 18 years old. Teenage mothers and their children face economic disadvantages (see Births to Teens indicator), but they also face health risks. Half the youngest mothers (15 and under) and nearly four in ten older teenagers get inadequate prenatal care. Even among mothers over 20, one-quarter don’t get adequate prenatal care.About 68 percent of women who had babies in Alaska from 1991 through 1995 were White, 23 percent were Native, 4.5 percent were Black, and 4.5 percent were Asian. One quarter of mothers of all races in Alaska get inadequate prenatal care, but the share is considerably higher among Alaska Native mothers—four in ten.
    • Violent Death in Alaska: Who Is Most Likely To Die?

      Berman, Matthew; Leask, Linda (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
      Alaskans die by accident and commit suicide far more often than the national averages. They die in homicides at near the national rate. But when you look beyond the averages, it’s plain that some Alaskans are at much higher risk than others. This Review describes how rates of violent death—by which we mean deaths from accidents, suicides, and homicides—vary among Alaskans by race, sex, age, marital status, and place of residence. Differences in age and other factors don’t explain all the variation, but they give us a start in better understanding why violent death strikes some groups and places much more than others. The detailed analysis that follows is based on a computer file—provided by the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics—of death certificates of Alaskans who died between 1980 and 1990. This file includes recently revised statistics analyzed here for the first time. We calculated average death rates for that 11-year period, allowing us to see trends and to feel confident that rates for small towns don’t just reflect unusual circumstances in a single year.
    • On the Eve of IFQs: Fishing for Alaska's Halibut and Sablefish

      Berman, Matthew; Leask, Linda (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
      This year, anyone with a boat, longline gear, and a $50 permit could try for halibut in Alaska’s commercial fisheries. But that open access will likely end in 1995, when the federal government introduces Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQs). Quotas—shares of the catch—will be issued just to those who owned or leased vessels that fished for halibut between 1988 and 1990. An IFQ system for sablefish (black cod) under federal management will start at the same time. The IFQ plan is not popular with the men and women who fish for halibut: 68 percent of captains (permit holders) believe IFQs will unfairly allocate halibut, even though 78 percent agree they will make fishing safer. But the IFQ system could also cause big changes in wealth, income, and jobs in Alaska’s coastal communities, which rely heavily on fishing. ISER is studying the potential effects of IFQs, especially on small coastal towns, under a Saltonstall-Kennedy grant. As a first step we surveyed captains (most of whom were also owners) of vessels with longline gear. This publication reports our survey findings.
    • School Costs and the Foundation Program

      Berman, Matthew; Larson, Eric (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
      Alaska's public school system today is a much different and costlier system than it was 20 years ago. This summary provides an overview of an examination undertaken by ISER on behalf of the Alaska Legislature. The aim of this investigation was to assess how the state's Public School Foundation Program could be more equitable for taxpayers and school districts. We studied changes in the major categories of school operating costs over the past two decades. Those costs recur year after year and account for most of total school district spending. They include costs of instruction and pupil support (libraries for instance); general support (administrative functions); and operations and maintenance of school buildings. We did not analyze capital costs, which normally make up a small part of total school costs and are different each year. This summary is based on "Education Equity and Taxpayer Equity: A Reveiw of the Alska Public School Foundation Funding Program" by Matthew Berman and Eric Larson.
    • Gaining and Losing Under State Fiscal Policies

      Berman, Matthew; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1993)
      Sometime soon—just when is uncertain—Alaska’s legislators will run short of money to balance the state budget and will have to make big budget adjustments. Those budget adjustments will be especially difficult, because the generous fiscal policies of the 1980s have had major effects on the jobs and incomes of individual Alaskans. The dividend and bonus programs are reflections of Alaska’s oil wealth at the start of the 1980s—and examples of the many ways the legislature used oil money to make life sweeter for Alaskans. It established the Permanent Fund Dividend program to make annual payments to all residents. It expanded the Longevity Bonus program of monthly payments to older Alaskans. It abolished the personal income tax. It increased aid to local governments, allowing them to cut property taxes while they hired more workers and increased services. And it established loan programs and increased spending for services and facilities, spreading jobs and money throughout the economy. The problem is that the state’s oil revenues for the rest of the 1990s are likely to be smaller on average than they were during the past five years, and much smaller than a decade ago. This paper estimates the effects of selected state policies on different types of households and communities in the 1980s, and assesses the likely consequences of specific policy changes
    • Sustainability and Subsistence in Arctic Communities

      Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      Thirty years ago, Chance (1966) wondered if hunting and fishing traditions of the people of the Arctic Slope of Alaska would survive the transition from nomadic to village life. The oil boom of the 1980s brought change to the region to an extent neither Chance nor Arctic dwellers themselves might have predicted (Knapp and Morehouse, 1991). Yet despite a vigorous wage economy fueled by two decades of oil revenues that yields a per-capita income exceeding the national average, subsistence traditions remain strong. Average per-capita harvest of subsistence foods in Alaska's North Slope Borough still exceeds a pound per day (Fuller and George, 1997). This document was prepared for presentation to the Western Regional Science Association annual meeting in Monterey, California
    • Management of Incidental Catch of Crab, Halibut, Herring, and Salmon in the Groundfish Fisheries of Alaska

      Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
      The project demonstrated a new approach to modeling incidental harvest (bycatch) of the North Pacific groundfish fleet using a spreadsheet-based optimization model. The approach models industry decision as the pursuit of profit-maximization by exploiting a mixed-stock common property fishery under total allowable catch regulation for both target species and incidental harvest. Trial simulations with a small-scale version of the model suggest that the approach realistically portrays the behavior of the fleet and the implication of bycatch management choices. An interactive user interface constructed for the model guides users through the assumptions and options of the model, making them transparent to the user.
    • Long-Term Effects of Limiting Access to Alaska's Sablefish and Halibut Fisheries

      Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
      The study analyzed potential long-term effects of the Alaska halibut and sablefish individual transferable quota (ITQ) program for the fishing fleet and coastal communities. The analysis focused on changes in the structure of the fleet, changes in fisheries markets, changes in fish processing and transportation, and regional shifts in the pattern of harvesting and processing activities. As a tool for projecting the combined effects of these major changes, two complementary models were developed: a fisheries impact model and a community impact model. Projections from these models for long-term scenarios of fish prices, total allowable catch by management area, and rate of inter-community quota transfers show that some communities could see large changes as a result of the program. The projected gains and losses are sensitive to assumptions about prices processors can pay in each community, suggesting a role for further research on evolving processing and transportation costs.
    • When Values Conflict: Political Accommodation of Alaska Native Subsistence

      Holleman, Marybeth; Morehouse, Thomas (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
      Management of subsistence hunting and fishing in Alaska today is caught between federal law and the Alaska constitution. The federal Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA) requires giving Natives and other rural residents subsistence preference-that is, first call on fish and game when they are scarce. But the Alaska Supreme Court~ McDowell decision in 1989 held that a similar state law was unconstitutional, because the state's constitution prohibits granting such preferences based solely on place of residence. As a result, the federal government now manages subsistence on federal lands, the state on state lands, and it appears to some that the two management systems are headed toward an inevitable "horrific collision." This paper argues that although the fundamental value conflict between equal rights and cultural survival cannot be resolved, it can be circumvented and at least partially neutralized. Legislators, judges, and administrators can focus on material or economic problems of resource conservation and allocation, which, unlike value conflicts, are more susceptible to compromise.
    • Kenai Peninsula Natural Gas Study: Final Report

      Foster, Mark; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1995)
      A very large industrial facility such as the proposed Midrex iron ore reduction facility would make a pipeline economically feasible, but the resulting cost of gas to consumers would still be about twice the level of current Enstar rates, due to higher local distribution costs. Also, under this scenario customers along the pipeline route would not automatically have access to cheap gas unless they were clustered in groups of at least 10 people within about one mile of the connection to the main line. This study examines the economics of bringing natural gas to Homer, Seward, and intermediate points along the Sterling Highway. We conclude that natural gas delivered by pipeline to Homer or Seward from the existing Enstar system will remain uneconomical or marginally competitive with diesel under plausible assumptions about economic growth. That's because both Homer and Seward have very small numbers of customers compared to the cost of a pipeline necessary to reach either community.
    • Management Alternatives for the Guided Sport Fishery for Halibut off Alaska

      Hartley, Marcus; Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
      The domestic fishery for halibut in and off Alaska is managed by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) as provided by the ""Convention Between the United States and Canada for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea" (Convention) signed at Washington March 29, 1979, and the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut Act). The Convention and the Halibut Act authorize the respective North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) established by the Magnuson-Stevens Act to: "develop regulations governing the United States portion of Convention waters, including limited access regulations, applicable to nationals or vessels of the United States, or both which are in addition to and not in conflict with regulation adopted by the Commission. Such regulation shall only be implemented with the approval of the Secretary, shall not discriminate between residents of different States, and shall be consistent with the limited entry criteria set forth in Section 303(b)(6) of the Magnuson Stevens Act. If it becomes necessary to allocate or assign halibut fishing privileges among various United States fishermen, such allocation shall be fair and equitable to all such fishermen, based upon the rights and obligation in existing Federal law, reasonable calculated to promote conservation, and carried in such manner that no particular individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share o f the halibut fishing privileges ... [Halibut Act]." This document assesses the potential economic and social impacts of a proposed catch reporting system and/or some form of limitation on the growth of the halibut charter boat industry (lodges, outfitters, guides, and charter vessels) operating in waters off Alaska's coast.
    • Who Will Pay for Balancing the Budget?

      Leask, Linda; Goldsmith, Scott; Berman, Matthew; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
      Alaskans will pay more and get less from state government in the 1990s. But how will the burden of spending cuts and tax increases fall on richer and poorer and urban and rural households? That depends on which policies state officials choose. Alaska faces big and growing budget deficits because the petroleum revenues that mostly paid for state government in the 1980s are steadily shrinking. When those deficits will start is uncertain, but low world oil prices are erasing the budget surplus state officials had expected as a result of the Middle East war. This paper assesses how different taxing and spending policies could affect different kinds of households. As a measure of those effects we examine relative losses in disposable household income. Budget deficits will of course have other effects on households. Some households will be hurt a lot more than others by broad economic losses and reduced government services. Alaskans who lose their jobs will obviously suffer bigger losses than we describe. But relative household income loss is a good measure of the equity of various fiscal policies. We estimate losses in disposable household income by comparing how various fiscal policies reduce state transfer pay-ments and increase state and local taxes.
    • ISER Review 1994-1996

      Leask, Linda (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1996)
      Alaska has seen rapid and dramatic change since 1959, when it became a state. The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER)-which was established in 1961-has studied that change, examining virtually all the major public policy issues along the way. This Review reports on ISER's research between 1994 and 1996. It discusses recently completed and ongoing work. Faculty and staff are profiled on page 7, and page 8 lists selected recent publications. This summary includes Fishery Studies, Social Studies, Community Studies and Economics/Fiscal Studies.
    • Measured Energy Savings from the Alaska Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program

      Brooks, Linda; Holleman, Marybeth; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1993)
      The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) asked the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) to conduct a evaluation of the actual energy savings achieved by the Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program. This effort represents one of the first formal attempts to quantify savings from weatherization programs in Alaska on a large scale. This study was limited by design to houses heated piped natural gas. We have divided our study into two phases. In Phase One, we used the PRISM software system to measure overall savings for a group of homes. In PhaseTwo, we plan to explore the effectiveness of particular weatherization measures and other sources of energy saving such as behavioral changes, new occupants, and physical changes to the housing unit. This report presents preliminary results of the Phase One PRISM analysis.
    • Petroleum Industry and Fairbanks Economy

      Huskey, Lee (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1995)
      The petroleum industry plays an important role in the economy of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, but that role is largely hidden from view. A major portion of the local economy is linked to petroleum production, and economic activity in the petroleum sector is one of the most important determinants of the size of the overall economy. The primary task of this report was to estimate the size of the Fairbanks petroleum sector. This report defines the petroleum sector to include all economic activity in the region which would not exist without North Slope oil production. The report looks at the role of the petroleum sector in 1994 and was prepared for BP (Alaska) Inc. for presentation to the State of Alaska Oil and Gas Policy Council.