Recent Submissions

  • Effects of wind energy utilization on long-run fuel consumption in remote Alaska microgrids

    Vaught, Laura K.; Little, Joseph; Baek, Jungho; Pride, Dominique (2019-12)
    This paper presents an empirical analysis of the long-run reduction in diesel fuel consumption driven by wind energy utilization in remote Alaska electrical grids. Models control for other fuel consumption determinants including customer base and transmission and distribution system efficiency. Fourteen rural communities that integrated wind energy into their diesel powered electrical grids are analyzed within a dynamic panel framework using monthly utility data spanning sixteen years, from 2001 to 2017. An auto-regressive distributed lag approach is taken to address cointegration and presence of a unit root in the data. Long-run parameters are estimated for the full dataset as well as for four sub-samples to compare impacts on microgrids with high and low average renewable utilization and with large and small customer bases. Results indicate that fuel consumption is reduced by an estimated 68 gallons on average for each one percent increase in wind energy penetration on the electricity grid. Beyond 30% average penetration, however, additional wind energy generation leads to increased fuel consumption as turbine curtailment methods must be employed to maintain grid stability, indicating that this is a fuel-offset constraint point in low and medium penetration wind-diesel hybrid systems. High penetration-capable wind-diesel systems with energy storage capabilities may allow utilities to increase utilization rates beyond this threshold to capture additional fuel savings and carbon emissions offset.
  • McNeil River State Game Sanctuary permit lottery applicant preferences and marginal willingness to pay for permit application: a best-worst discrete choice experiment

    Young, Taylor B.; Little, Joseph; Baek, Jungho; Greenberg, Joshua (2019-08)
    This study applies data from a web-based survey administered to 2016-2018 McNeil River State Game Sanctuary permit lottery applicants to examine preferences and marginal willingness-to-pay (WTP) for an application contingent upon marginal interval increases among specific attributes of a bear viewing experience. A best-worst discrete choice experiment (BWDCE) was used to elicit respondent data, which consisted of eight individual choice tasks using a Balanced Incomplete Block Design (BIBD) in Sawtooth Software. Each choice task was comprised of five attributes: permit application price, odds of winning a permit, number of bears viewed daily during visit to the Sanctuary, cubs being present, and most common type of bear feeding activity viewed while at the Sanctuary. Each attribute was decomposed into two to four varying levels across choice tasks, depending on the attribute in question. The findings suggest that lottery permit applicants have a significant desire to view bears fishing for salmon, and to see cubs. These results imply a clear desire of applicants to visit the Sanctuary in high season. As expected, respondents also stand to obtain a positive effect on personal utility of increased odds of winning a permit, and to a lesser extent, view a larger number of bears while at the Sanctuary, and therefore have a positive mWTP to both of these characteristics as well. The price coefficient in both the preference parameter utility model and the mWTP model is negative, as expected, but not large in magnitude which may be attributed to the sample being wealthier than average and/or the forgone permit application price is viewed as a wildlife conservation donation. The main model used for analysis is the mixed (random parameters) logit (MXL), and the preference parameters estimated are then used to estimate mWTP in WTP-space using Stata. Results using a multinomial logit (MNL) and conditional logit (CL) are also presented for comparison and affirmation that MXL is better suited for the data in order to allow for preference heterogeneity and random parameters, rather than fixed parameters.
  • The effect of wildfires, spruce bark beetles, and prescribed burns on residential property values in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

    Reinker, Paul C.; Little, Joseph; Baek, Jungho; Greenberg, Joshua (2019-08)
    This study estimates the effect that forest fires, spruce bark beetle outbreaks, and controlled burns performed by fire management agencies have on nearby residential property values. Using the hedonic pricing framework, and ten years of house sales from south-central Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, this study found little evidence that wildfires and spruce beetle outbreaks have a significant effect on the final sale price of surrounding homes, but found that the controlled burns contribute to a decrease in surrounding home values. As Alaska's climate becomes warmer and drier, these disturbances threaten to increase in frequency and severity. Understanding how homeowners perceive fire risk and forest damage is increasingly important to fire management policy, as the behavior of residents can help limit both the cost from and incidence of wildfires. The study's findings suggest that homeowners are either insulated from, or indifferent to fire risk, but targeted burns of high-risk areas by fire managers could increase awareness and sensitivity to fire risk.
  • Determinants of anglers willingness to pay to support the Recreational Quota Entity program

    Mitchell, McKenzie; Little, Joseph; Criddle, Keith; Greenberg, Joshua; Hermann, Mark (2019-05)
    This study applies data from a web-based survey administered to Alaska sport fish license holders in 2017 to examine the newly introduced Recreational Quota Entity (RQE) program in Alaska's guided halibut sport fishery and the possibility of increasing halibut available to sport anglers by funding this program through a state-endorsed halibut stamp. Two valuation questions were randomized amongst the survey sample. The questions were designed to elicit willingness to pay (WTP) for a halibut stamp in support of the RQE program under (1) status quo halibut fishing regulations (2) more relaxed charter halibut fishing regulations made possible through revenues from halibut stamp sales. The need for two valuation questions is in response to the many factors that would ultimately determine the degree to which charter fishing regulations could be relaxed and the time needed for regulatory change made possible through revenues from halibut stamp sales. The findings indicate that non-resident anglers and resident anglers have a very similar WTP for a state-endorsed halibut stamp and that anglers are willing to pay for a halibut stamp despite having little or no history of participation in the halibut fishery. The pairwise comparison among mean WTP estimates from both valuation questions indicates that differences in anglers' WTP are inconsequential. Findings suggest that the WTP for a state-endorsed halibut stamp reflects an interest in preserving access to the fishery or the value of reserving an option to participate in the halibut fishery. Respondent education level and employment status were found to be statistically significant determinants of anglers' willingness to pay for a state-endorsed halibut stamp to support the RQE program.
  • An exploration of own and cross-price elasticity of demand for residential heating in the Fairbanks North Star Borough

    Graham, Noelle J.; Little, Joseph; Baek, Jungho; Kennedy, Camilla (2019-05)
    The purpose of this study is to utilize community level household energy consumption data to determine the short-run own- and cross-price elasticity of heating oil and wood using the proportionally calibrated almost idea demand system model. Elasticity values can identify how residents of the Fairbanks North Star Borough will potentially alter home heating practices in response to a change in home heating oil price. Results indicate that values for own-price elasticity for oil is -0.259, with a 95% confidence interval of [-0.272, -0.246]. Based on predicted values a 1% increase in the price of heating oil is estimated to result in a reduction of 0.259% in the quantity of residential heating oil consumed by the average household. Cross-price elasticity estimates of wood with respect to a change in the price of oil is 0.198 with a 95% confidence interval of [0.171, 0.234]. Based on predicted values, a 1% increase in the price of oil is predicted to increase wood consumption by 0.198%. In addition, this study utilized a Monte Carlo Simulation with estimated elasticity parameters to predict the change in household level energy consumption of wood and heating oil given an increase in heating oil prices. Approximately 71% of households are predicted to decrease overall energy consumption. 83.5% of households are predicted to decrease oil consumption, and 57.3% of houses are predicted to increase wood consumption. Through evaluating household's energy consumption decisions in the face of changing prices, these results can inform effective air quality policies.
  • The role of property rights in bycatch reduction: evidence from the British Columbia groundfish fishery

    Edinger, Tonya; Little, Joe; Goering, Douglas; Baek, Jungho (2014)
    The following analysis seeks to contribute to the literature by examining the effectiveness of the individual vessel bycatch quota (IVBQ) system as an incentive structure for the mitigation of halibut bycatch in the British Columbia Groundfish fishery. Through the use of an OLS regression technique, this empirical analysis intends to quantify the importance and overall effectiveness of the vessel bycatch quota incentive system in respect to mitigating bycatch. The research utilizes time series fisheries data from 1962-2012, as provided by The International Pacific Halibut Commission and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The research indicates that the IVBQ system has proven to be highly effective, confirming the significance of private property rights as a tool for the reduction of bycatch within British Columbia. Policy makers may utilize the information provided in this paper to design more feasible and effective policy options to promote the preservation of ecological balance in the management of marine resources.
  • Examining the advocacy coalition framework for insight into shale gas development in US and UK political systems

    Wolfley, Kathryn (2014-12)
    The project considers the Advocacy Coalition Framework from the discipline of policymaking which is used to examine contentious and politically complex policy issues, particularly in energy and environmental development and planning. Shale gas development in the United States has been noted for its dramatic economic and political effects, leading some countries to pursue development of their own shale resources. The United Kingdom's tentative steps into the industry have engendered efforts to understand American experiences and conceptualize how their own country may or may not accommodate such development. The project attempts to highlight the current or potential issues or benefits entering the discourse and extrapolate insights from the Advocacy Coalition Framework to enhance and inform shale gas development as a social issue in addition to existing as an economic or technological disruption. Thoughts on attitudes between disciplines tangent to shale gas development are also expressed.
  • Changes in the value of the Southeast Alaska salmon purse seine limited entry permits following two permit buy back programs

    Shriver, Jennifer Christine (2014-12)
    The Southeast Alaska salmon purse seine fishery (S01A) is an Alaska state waters limited entry fishery. When initially limited by the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission in 1975, 419 permanent permits were issued. As salmon prices dropped in the late 1990s, current and expected future revenues also dropped leading to a decline in the market value of permit. This led permitees to look at different ways to improve their economic position. Reduction of permit numbers through the buyback and permanent retirement of some permits emerged as a preferred option for the S01A fishery; it was motivated as the best means to improve economic conditions in the fishery. After a very long road of regulatory changes at the state and federal level, 35 permits were bought and retired in 2008 using funds provided under a federal grant. A second buyback in 2012, based on a federally backed fishery reduction loan led to the retirement of 65 additional permits. Basic economic principles suggest that resulting decrease in supply of limited entry permits would lead to an increase in the market value of remaining permits. An important policy question is: whether the increased value to permitees is sufficient to offset the cost to taxpayers of financing the buyback. However, conducting that cost-benefit assessment is made difficult because of unrelated but concomitant changes in exvessel prices and catch volumes. During the same time that permits were being removed through the buyback, the exvessel value of salmon increased as did the volume of Southeast Alaska salmon harvests, per-vessel average exvessel gross earnings, and the market value of S01A permits. Econometric analyses based on Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) time series data on S01A permit values, estimated gross earnings, and salmon prices indicate that the buybacks led to statistically significant increases in the asset value of S01A LEPs. In light of the program's stated goals, the buyback was a qualified success in increasing the asset value of S01A permits and removing latent fishing capacity from returning to the fishery as exvessel prices increased. The buyback did not change the fundamental conditions that precondition the Alaska salmon LEP program to systematic vulnerabilities inherent in a management system that does not counter the pernicious race for fish motivations of participants.
  • A comprehensive bycatch market: investigating pricing mechanisms for ecosystem accountability

    O'Brien, Erik; Little, Joseph; Greenberg, Joshua; Goering, Greg (2015-05)
    This report takes an ecosystem approach to managing targeted and non-targeted species in the Bering Sea Aleutian Island commercial fisheries. The current regulatory environment sets biological harvest limits across fish stock's entire range, although the individual components of managing fisheries within a stock may lead to economic inefficiencies and difficulties in accounting for social costs due to blunt incentives. The research presented here outlines a model for scenario analysis and pricing mechanisms at each level of harvest across a species range. Due to the modeled indifference of harvesting in targeted or non-targeted fisheries, designations are made for degrees of ownership rights and monetary transfers to balance these rights in the presence of non-target bycatch. This report argues that efficiency gains can be made by managing behavior through pricing incentives at the margin.
  • Impact of specific CSR activities, executive & board diversity on equity valuations

    Williams, David J.; Little, Joseph; Baek, Jungho; Greenberg, Joshua (2018-05)
    The objective of this study is to identify the impact of specific corporate social responsibility behaviors on equity prices. This study uses fixed effect parametric and nonparametric regressions to quantify the effect of specific corporate social responsibility activities on the equity price multiples of a number of US firms from 1999 to 2009. The results of these empirical models consistently show that CEO diversity, corporate charitable giving, and work-life balance benefit plans, are associated with lower equity price multiples compared against similar firms that lack these characteristics. Additionally, board diversity and support of the LBGTQ community is associated with a positive impact on equity price multiples. This study provides evidence that individual corporate social responsibility activities can have drastic impacts on equity prices, leading the way for future research testing whether the magnitudes of these impacts are rational and in-line with their expected impact on financial performance and risk, or a deviation from the efficient market hypothesis.
  • Analysis of energy consumption on the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis in the United States: does renewable energy play a role?

    Ohnesorge, Michelle; Little, Joseph; Baek, Jungho; Greenberg, Joshua (2018-05)
    Using CO₂ emissions as a representation of environmental degradation an empirical econometric analysis is conducted to see if there is evidence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve in the United States and if renewable energy consumption plays a significant role in CO₂ emission mitigation. The renewable energy consumption variable was broken down further to isolate geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, solar, and wind energy consumption and explore their role in the analysis. An Auto-Regressive Distributed Lag approach to cointegration with Pooled Mean Groups and Mean Groups estimations was used on U.S. state (including District of Columbia) specific data from 1987 to 2015 to calculate the long and short run results that would support an Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis. The panel of states was divided into low, medium, and high GDP brackets as disaggregate models and those were examined along with a model of the entire United States. Evidence for an Environmental Kuznets Curve for the United States could not be established in the aggregate model, however it was found that renewable energy consumption did have a negative coefficient, which indicates CO₂ emission mitigation through renewable energy consumption. Out of the individual renewable energy consumption variables tested, only wind energy consumption was found to be statistically significant while the model also exhibited evidence to support an Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis in this aggregate model. Looking at the different GDP state brackets, low GDP states were the only bracket that yielded evidence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve in the disaggregate models. For estimations with the low GDP states bracket looking at the individual renewable energy consumption variables, hydroelectric, biomass, solar, and wind energy consumption variables were statistically significant as well. The medium GDP bracket states aggregate model did not yield conclusive results, stemming from the lack of slope in the GDP variable for this model. Out of the individual renewable energy consumption variables tested in the subset, biomass was the only energy consumption to be statistically significant while the model exhibited evidence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve. The high GDP bracket aggregate model did not yield results showing evidence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve, while the individual renewable energy consumption variable subset models geothermal and wind energy consumption were statistically significant within models showing evidence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve. Breaking out these separate renewable energy consumption variables in an Environmental Kuznets Curve analysis can provide empirical support for policy and investment in specific renewable energy technology.
  • Hunters like skewness, not risk: evidence of gambling behaviors in the Alaska hunting permit lottery

    Lane, Brock; Little, Joseph; Greenberg, Joshua; Baek, Jungho (2018-05)
    In Alaska, hunting permits are distributed by traditional lottery. The absence of a preference point system means that applicants have little invested in their applications, and there are a variety of fallback hunting opportunities. Not unlike a jackpot-style state lottery, the cost to play is low relative to the potential prize winnings. These factors may cause risk-averse or risk-neutral individuals to exhibit a preference for positive skewness in their bets. Analysis in this paper is focused on four prevalent game species: moose, dall sheep, mountain goat, and bison. Pooled Ordinary Least Squares regression models were constructed to predict permit application levels as a function of various hunt characteristics, qualities, and restrictions. Permit descriptions are provided to applicants in a published document called the drawing supplement, which is the primary source of data for this study. Additional hunter-reported data is obtained from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website. A comparison of calculated permit values and private ranch hunting opportunities validates many of the observations drawn from the models. Permit values are also used to fit a cubic model of bettor utility. Even when awarded prizes are not monetary, applicants exhibit a preference for positive skewness and aversion from risk that is typically associated with gambling.
  • Analyzing factors affecting Alaska's salmon permit values: evidence from Bristol Bay drift gillnet permits

    Wood, Mackenzie D.; Baek, Jungho; Little, Joseph; Greenberg, Joshua (2017-05)
    The effects of total earnings, total costs and mining exploration on permit prices in Alaska are investigated using an autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach to cointegration. I take specific account of regional and gear specific salmon fisheries -- that is, Bristol Bay drift gillnet permits -- in our modelling. I find that there is a stable long-run relationship among permit prices, total earnings, and total costs. It is also found that, in both the short- and long-run, total earnings have a positive and significant relationship with permit prices, while total costs have a negative and significant relationship. Although the mining exploration in the region has a negative and significant effect on permit prices in the short-run, the effect does not seem to last in the long-run.
  • Valuing residential energy efficiency in two Alaska real estate markets: a hedonic approach

    Pride, Dominique J.; Little, Joseph; Baek, Jungho; Lovecraft, Amy Lauren; Mueller-Stoffels, Marc (2017-05)
    Alaska households have high home energy consumption and expenditures. Improving the energy efficiency of the housing stock can reduce home energy consumption, thereby reducing home energy expenditures and CO₂ emissions. Improving the energy efficiency of a home may also increase its transaction price if the energy efficiency improvements are capitalized into the value of the home. The relationship between energy efficiency and transaction prices in the Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska residential real estate markets is examined. Using a hedonic pricing framework and difference-in-differences analysis, the impact of the Alaska Home Energy Rebate program on the transaction prices of single-family homes in the Fairbanks and Anchorage housing markets from 2008 through 2015 is examined. The results indicate that compared to homes that did not complete the program, homes that completed the program sell for a statistically significant price premium between 15.1% and 15.5% in the Fairbanks market and between 5% and 11% in the Anchorage market. A hedonic pricing framework is used to relate energy efficiency ratings and transaction prices of homes in the Fairbanks and Anchorage residential real estate markets from 2008 through 2015. The results indicate that homes with above-average energy efficiency ratings sell for a statistically significant price premium between 6.9% and 17.5% in the Fairbanks market and between 1.8% and 6.0% in the Anchorage market.
  • Predicting the probability of conversion to natural gas in the Fairbanks Northstar Borough

    Hume, Jordan M.; Little, Joseph; Wright, Christopher; Greenberg, Joshua (2017-05)
    In 2013 a phone survey was conducted for Northern Economics Inc. by Ivan Moore Research Group, with the goal of determining the willingness of households in the Fairbanks North Star Borough to convert their residence to natural gas. This paper provides an analysis of prior household discrete choice experiments involving energy usage. Probit regression is used to determine the probability of conversion given different levels of household income, payback period, cost of conversion, and annual saving associated with conversion, in addition to these variables three statistically significant attitudinal variables are included. Marginal effects and elasticities are presented and interpreted. Findings are congruent with past research and indicate that to maximize the conversion rate of households, the cost of conversion needs to be minimized or, if possible, subsidized and the annual level of saving maximized. Initial results suggest conversion cost is weighed more heavily than annual savings.
  • A new affordability indicator for rural Alaskan water utilities

    Johnson, Barbara A. L.; Little, Joseph M.; Baek, Jungho; Kennedy, Camilla; Wright, Christopher (2016-12)
    The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) administers funding for the construction of new water utilities in rural parts of the state. Funding allocation is partially based on whether the recipient community can cover the annual operation, maintenance, repair, equipment and capital replacement costs of the utility. Currently, the DEC deems a project affordable if the annual costs account for 5% or less of the community's median household income (MHI). In rural Alaska MHI is an inaccurate affordability indicator. This is partially because MHI fails to reflect the cost burden experienced by below median income households, it is a static snapshot of income, it does not account for living costs, nor does it account for the demographic composition of a community or the distribution of income. An alternative indicator was developed. The new indicator is composed of a Residential Indicator (RI) and a Financial Capability Index (FCI). RI is obtained by dividing the community's annual user fee by each income quintile value. FCI is composed of socioeconomic indicators chosen for their ability to detail the situation in rural Alaska. The FCI value is obtained by calculating the average of score assigned to the indicators based on pre-established thresholds. The new indicator was found to be more accurate than the MHI indicator. The new indicator was retroactively applied to Akiachak and found to more accurately assess affordability. The new indicator was also used to assess the current situation in communities with water utilities. The MHI indicator was found to have underestimated the price burden of user fees in numerous communities, and to have overestimated the burden in one community.
  • Commodity definition and content validity in stated preference valuation: a meta-analysis of water quality welfare estimates

    Hansen, Jamie Arnett; Little, Joseph; Fix, Peter; Baek, Jungho (2013-05)
    This paper applies a meta-analysis to investigate variation in willingness to pay estimates that arise from the use of different commodity descriptions in stated preference valuation surveys. To maintain commodity consistency, the data set for this meta-analysis is composed of willingness to pay estimates from contingent valuation, conjoint analysis, and choice experiment studies valuing water quality change in surface water bodies in the United States. The analysis uses an ordinary least squares regression with a cluster command to correct for potential correlation between observations drawn from the same study. The primary contribution of this study is the identification of systematic variation across stated preference studies resulting from changes in how the environmental commodity is presented and defined. By identifying the directional effect of these differences, this analysis provides insight into interpreting stated preference estimates and guidance for producing well-designed stated preference studies capable of eliminating bias and context effects.
  • Addressing student performance in the classroom: a case study of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Supplemental Instruction Program

    Englert, Alyssa; Little, Joseph; Wright, Christopher; Baek, Jungho (2016-05)
    The Supplemental Instruction (SI) program, developed and headquartered at the University of Missouri Kansas City, is a peer-to-peer mentorship program that seeks to aid post-secondary education students in passing historically difficult courses. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Supplemental Instruction program was established in 2003, and to date no external study has been completed as to its effectiveness despite the university’s unique student population. To empirically evaluate the program’s main user groups and impact on final course grade, three models were created: a probit model identified the demographic factors that led to a student self-selecting to participate; a negative binomial regression model was used to predict the number of SI sessions students attended; and an ordered probit model quantified the effect of SI attendance on final course grades. The results suggest that the program had a positive impact on final grades, with SI attendees being approximately 92% more likely to receive an A, and 94% less likely to receive a D or an F, than non-attendees. Older and married students were consistently found to be more likely to participate, as were students with large high school grade point averages. However, minority males were found to be almost 9% less likely to participate in SI than their white male counterparts.
  • Three essays on community supported agriculture

    Thayer, Anastasia; Little, Joseph; Seefeldt, Steven; Goering, Gregory; Baek, Jungho (2015-08)
    The number of community supported agriculture (CSA) farms has grown considerably since the model was first introduced in the United States nearly 30 years ago. However, current academic literature lacks specific studies that provide an in-depth analysis of a market for CSA shares over time. The purpose of this study was to provide a comprehensive overview of the supply and demand for CSA shares in the Tanana Valley through extensive data gathering of local production and farm statistics. The research provides a narrative of how the market has developed and changed over time. Hedonic models provide real estimates of implicit prices paid for specific attributes of CSA shares in the market. A choice experiment and intercept surveys determined consumer preferences for CSA shares. Overall, the results of this research indicate that CSA farms are becoming more prevalent in the Tanana Valley and offer a growing number of consumers a diverse basket of vegetables over the short Alaskan growing season. Based on statistics gathered from the demand analysis, farmers in the region could increase revenues and capture a larger share of the market for produce in the Tanana Valley through increased marketing and more flexible share options.
  • Economic impact of reindeer-caribou interactions on the Seward Peninsula

    Carlson, Stefanie Moreland (2005-05)
    The reindeer industry has persisted on the Seward Peninsula in western Alaska for more than 100 years. Since the mid 1990's the industry has been increasingly threatened by changes in Western Arctic Caribou Herd (WACH) migration paths and winter range. Free-range reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) intermingle with caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti) and migrate off designated reindeer ranges. As of spring 2003, eleven of fourteen Seward Peninsula reindeer operations were no longer commercially viable as a result of caribou induced reindeer losses. This loss is significant to an economically depressed region with few development opportunities. An economic input-output model was constructed in this study to analyze the reindeer industry's economic role in the regional economy prior to the loss of reindeer to caribou. Impact scenarios were used to estimate the effect of WACH on the regional economy through decreased output from the reindeer industry. Results show a per annum negative impact of $1.4 million (2000 dollars) on the regional economy with 11 non-operational reindeer herds. If reindeer losses lead to complete elimination of the commercial reindeer industry on the Seward Peninsula, study results show the region would incur a total negative economic impact of more than $17 million.

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