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  • Alaska Partnership for Teacher Enhancement Survey Summary

    Institute for Social and Economic Research, UAA (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
    Provides high level results for open-ended questions from the Alaska Partnership for Teacher Enhancement District Questionnaire Fall 2004. No interpretation is provided.
  • National Guard Subsistence Survey Reports (2006 and 2007)

    DeRoche, Patricia; Goldsmith, Scott; Killorin, Mary; Schultz, Caroline; Ulran, Uyuriukaraq Lily Anne Andrews; Wilson, Meghan (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
    These reports provides data collected regarding subsistence activities in communities of Alaska's north and south west regions (2006) and in the southeast region including Kenai and Kodiak (2007) . Data is tabulated by community and then by species. No interpretation is provided. Information intended to determine the best times for the National Guard to conduct training exercises in these areas.
  • BBNA Pebble Mine Technical Assistance Project - FInal Report (Volumes I-III)

    Sharp, Suzanne; Colt, Steve; Langdon, Steve; King, Meg (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
    This report summarizes and incorporates various materials prepared for the Bristol Bay Native Association (BBNA) under contractual agreement with the Institute o f Social and Economic Research (ISER) o f the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). The project is known as the BBNA-UAA/ISER Pebble Mine Technical Assistance Project. The project period was September l, 2005 through November 30, 2006. The Pebble Mine Technical Assistance Project was funded by U.S. Department of Environmental Protection through the Indian General Assistance Program (!GAP) for Alaska Native tribes. The funding was provided to the Bristol Bay Native Association through an "unmet needs" grant designed to provide technical assistance to the Bristol Bay tribes and tribal members in addressing environmental quality and subsistence issues associated with the proposed Pebble Mine project. The proposed Pebble Mine would be located in the Kvichak River drainage, home of the world's most productive sockeye salmon fishery and possibly draw water from the Nushagak-Mulchatna River watershed as well. This proposed development raises major issues related to environmental quality o f the lands and waters customarily utilized by Bristol Bay tribes situated in the Kvichak and Nushagak-Mulchatna River drainages. Bristol Bay tribal members from local communities in the vicinity of the proposed Pebble Mine project make substantial subsistence use of natural resources in the area which sustain the nutritional, economic, social and cultural health of tribal members. The purpose of the project was to provide technical assistance to the tribes to allow them to fully comprehend the nature of the Pebble Mine project and its potential impacts on the environment and their subsistence uses, and to enhance their capacity to fully participate in the review and permitting process should permits to develop the Pebble Mine be sought. The purpose of participation is to insure that protection for the environment and subsistence uses that depend on a healthy and productive ecosystem are fully addressed in the project review process.
  • Telehealth Business Models: An Assessment Tool for Telehealth Business Opportunities in Remote Rural Communities

    Berman, Matthew; Foster, Mark; Frazier, Rosyland (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
    The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of when the potentially offsetting considerations favor telehealth investments. To that end, we provide users with a financial template to assist them with the business model question of “how is value delivered to my customer and at what cost?” – assuming that the customer(s) may include a primary care provider, a specialist, an insurance company, a health care system, the entity paying for travel, and patients. The financial template allows users to enter their site specific estimates regarding changes in referral patterns with and without telehealth and the revenues and costs that result from the changes in referral patterns. In addition, we provide a spreadsheet to enable the user to estimate the potential value of patients’ time saved by avoiding travel and the value to patients of reduced wait time in the queue for specialty care. In addition, we provide a number of illustrative business cases primarily designed to show the potential complexity of the inter-relationship of parameters and assist users with understanding how they might use the template to build business cases for their particular circumstance. We also provide several examples of sensitivity analysis to assist users with understanding how they might use the template to develop “break-even” analyses and identify when the changes in referral patterns and case mix might trigger a need for increased staff or result in longer queues.
  • The Gas Reserves Tax Ballot Initiative: Risky State Policy

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
    Alaska voters will decide whether the state government should start taxing the natural gas reserves in the two largest North Slope gas fields. The idea behind the proposal is to jump-start construction of a gas pipeline. The North Slope has one of the largest accumulations of natural gas in the U.S., and Alaskans have been waiting a long time for a pipeline to carry that gas to market. Recent higher gas prices have made the project more attractive. Several oil companies hold leases on the gas. They’ve taken steps toward a pipeline—like negotiating fiscal terms with the state—but they haven’t committed to building one. Supporters of the reserves tax think they’re delaying the project (for various possible reasons) and should be pushed. The ballot proposal calls for the oil companies to pay a reserves tax—a tax on gas in the ground—until a pipeline is completed and North Slope gas is up for sale. It offers incentives for them to speed up the project: the sooner the pipeline is finished, the less they pay; and later they would recover some of what they did pay, in credits on gas production taxes. This report is summarized in the fifth Fiscal Policy Note which is included with this document record.
  • Understanding Alaska State Finances: What Citizens Want to Know and How to Convey that Information Effectively

    Haley, Sharman (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2003)
    Fiscal policy is a major dilemma for this state. State oil revenues have been declining since 1982. Despite cuts in the state’s general fund spending--down from a high of $2.9 billion in FY1982 to $2.5 billion in FY2002--the state budget has been in deficit eight of the last ten years. The FY 2002 deficit constituted nearly one third of the state general fund budget. At the current rate, the Constitutional Budget Reserve—the savings account which is being drawn down to cover the deficit—will be exhausted in about two years. Political opinion is so fragmented on the question of what to do that the legislature has been unable to forge a fiscal plan to address the issue. Indeed, the very nature of the problem is contested. Results from a state wide fiscal opinion survey last year (Moore, 2001) suggest that voter attitudes are a major factor in the current policy impasse. While 80 percent feel that some kind of fiscal plan is needed, only one third are very likely to support some kind of plan involving taxes and permanent fund earnings, another one third somewhat likely to support such a plan, and one third not very or not at all likely. Analysis of the data shows that more informed voters, with a more accurate understanding of some basic facts about Alaska’s fiscal structure, are more likely to support a plan involving taxes and permanent fund earnings.
  • 2009 Alaska Health Workforce Vacancy Study - Report and Appendices

    Alaska Center for Rural Health; ISER, 2009
    Health professional shortages can be decreased through the start of new training programs, the expansion of existing programs, and the improvement of the effectiveness of recruitment and retention efforts. However, strategic planning and the execution of such programs require valid and accurate data. To this end, stakeholders such as the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (AMHTA) and Alaskan's For Access to Health Care (ACCESS), along with schools and departments within the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), funded the Alaska Center for Rural Health-Alaska’s AHEC (ACRH) and the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) to conduct a comprehensive health workforce study during winter and spring of 2009. This report highlights employers’ needs for employees to fill budgeted positions. This is different from a needs assessment that would take into account population demographics and disease incidence and prevalence. This health workforce study is an assessment of health manpower shortage based on budgeted staff positions and their vacancies in organizations throughout the state. Respondents included part-time positions, which resulted in our counting full-time equivalent (FTE) rather than individuals (“bodies”). In situations where a position was divided among more than one occupation (e.g., Dental Assistant and Billing Clerk), we asked the respondent to count the position under which they considered the position’s “primary occupation.” The study was designed in consultation with an advisory group that included AMHTA, ACCESS, and UAA. The study targeted 93 health occupations. The unit of analysis was the employment site by organization type, which allowed for the allocation of positions and vacancies by geographic region. APPENDICES: Appendix A. List of Health Occupations, Appendix B. Health Workforce Surveys, Appendix C. Cover Letter Accompanying Survey Forms, Appendix D. Confidence Intervals for Positions, Vacancies, Number of Vacancies Filled with New Graduates, and Length of Longest Vacancy in Months, Appendix E. Tables of Samples and Estimates of Positions, Vacancies, Vacancy Rates, Number of Vacancies Filled with New Graduates, Mean and Maximum Length of Longest Vacancy in Months, Appendix F. Tables of Occupations Sorted By Estimates of Positions, Vacancies, Vacancy Rates, Number of Vacancies Filled with New Graduates, Mean and Maximum Length of Longest Vacancy in Months
  • Understanding Alaska's Remote Rural Economy

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2008)
    In the big, remote stretches of northern and western Alaska, many households keep themselves going with a mix of cash, subsistence, sharing, and other non-cash trading. That’s a world away from the state’s urban economy, and under standard measures like income, the remote rural economy lags far behind. Over the years there have been many efforts to improve the remote rural economy—but there’s a lot we don’t know about it. Standard economic measures don’t capture all the activity in an economy where subsistence, sharing, and non-cash trading play important parts. Some kinds of data don’t even exist. But to develop effective strategies, Alaskans need to understand the economic realities of the remote region. This paper is an overview of the remote economy, based on published data. It’s at best an approximation, because the data are so limited. Still, it’s a first step—and it highlights the many gaps in information. Stretching from the North Slope to the Alaska Peninsula, the remote region covers 395,000 square miles and is large enough to hold Japan, Germany, and Great Britain. Alaska Natives, the region’s aboriginal people, still make up most of the population—although thousands have moved to urban areas in recent times. The 60,500 residents live in five regional centers and about 150 small communities.
  • The University of Alaska: How Is It Doing?

    Kassier, Theodore; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2008)
    Recent reports on higher education in the U.S. say it’s in trouble— that it’s too expensive, doesn’t offer enough need-based aid, isn’t educating people for today’s jobs, doesn’t demand enough of instructors or students, and isn’t sufficiently accountable to policymakers and taxpayers.1 Is the University of Alaska (UA)—the state’s only public university —offering a good, affordable education for Alaskans? This paper looks at that question. It first presents the available data on various measures and then summarizes successes and continuing challenges for UA. It ends with a discussion of how UA and the state are addressing higher-education issues and what other steps they might consider. UA has made substantial progress on a number of goals in the past decade. For example, it’s attracting a growing share of Alaska’s college-bound freshmen, and it’s educating many more students for jobs in high-demand areas like health care and technology. The school’s overall retention and graduation rates are improving. But UA also faces many of the same issues as other public universities— like sharp increases in tuition and significant numbers of students who come out of high school unable to read, write, or do math at college-level.
  • The Regional Economy of Southeast Alaska

    Colt, Steve; Fay, Ginny; Dugan, Darcy (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
    Southeast Alaska consists of all boroughs and census areas including and east of the Yakutat Borough. (An Alaska borough or census area is the geographic equivalent of a county in the lower 48 states.) The eight boroughs and census areas are listed in Table 1. The “Southeast Region” is one of six longstanding labor market regions defined by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Following numerous other authors, we will refer to the Juneau City and Borough as “Juneau” and to the remaining seven census areas as “rural Southeast” or “rural Southeast Alaska.” This report provides a broad overview of the regional economy of Southeast Alaska, including trends over time for individual communities and boroughs. It also addresses several specific topics identified by the study team and the project sponsors. The main purpose is to add to the information and knowledge base available to help people make informed decisions. This knowledge base now includes several excellent and recent reports. These will be mentioned, cited, and briefly summarized, but not recapitulated at any length. Readers of this report are strongly encouraged to consult these other reports.
  • The Great Salmon Run: Competition Between Wild and Farmed Salmon

    Knapp, Gunnar; Roheim, Cathy; Anderson, James (TRAFFIC North America, 2007)
    This report examines economic and policy issues related to wild and farmed salmon in North America. These issues have received a great deal of attention in recent years, reflecting the environmental, economic and cultural importance of salmon to Americans—and the fact that salmon issues span many important policy debates ranging from environmental protection to trade policy. The salmon industry has experienced dramatic change over the past two decades. Two major trends gave rise to many of the issues discussed in this report. The first trend is the rapid and sustained growth in world farmed salmon and salmon trout production, from two percent of world supply in 1980 to 65 percent of world supply in 2004. The growth of farmed salmon and the decline in the value of wild salmon has given rise to two broad sets of questions: • How has salmon farming affected wild salmon resources and the wild salmon industry? • What should be done to protect wild salmon resources and strengthen the wild salmon industry?"
  • The Case for Strengthening Education in Alaska

    Hill, Alexandra; Gorsuch, Lee; Cravez, Pamela (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
    Alaska’s public education system has been transformed since Alaska became a state. Opportunities for education have been expanded in many ways and many places. But at every level, from pre-school on up, the education systems in Alaska and the U.S. have serious troubles. Many American children don’t have access to early education; can’t do math and science as well as those in other countries; can’t pass basic reading, writing, and math tests; and don’t finish high school. Boys are less likely than girls to go on to college. And in Alaska, there are fewer early-education programs than nationwide. Elementary and high-school students— especially Alaska Natives and those from low-income families—are falling below U.S. averages. Since statehood, Alaska’s education system has grown and improved enormously. But the remaining challenges are also very big. Alaska has the resources to deal with those challenges, and some efforts are in fact already underway. The question now for all Alaskans—not only educators and parents—is this: how do we come together to create what our state and our children need?
  • Testing a Methodology for Estimating the Economic Significance of Saltwater Charter Fishing in Southeast Alaska

    Wilson, Meghan; Fay, Ginny; Dugan, Darcy; Fay-Hiltner, Ian; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
    In May 2004, the Alaska legislature established new licensing requirement for sport fishing guide business owners and sport fishing guides on a statewide basis. As part of this new registration process, a registered guide vessel must display an ADF&G guide decal on both sides of the vessel along with a current year tag provided when the logbook is issued. The vessel registration portion of the logbook distribution does not collect all the information that CFEC previously collect; the primary mission at Sport Fish Division is monitor fishing pressure on fish stocks by tracking the number of vessels used in the guide industry including the number of vessels used by an individual business. Since a logbook is issued to a unique business, it is possible to determine how many vessels are being used by that given business. The new licensing requirements initiated in 2005, require that a business maintain current Occupational License and Liability Insurance. A guide is also required to have a current sport fish license, first aid certificate and a Coast Guard license if they plan to operate a motorized vessel with clients on board.The purposes of this study are 1) to estimate the economic significance of saltwater charter sport fishing in Southeast Alaska and 2) to test a new methodology for developing these estimates. In addition, this study lays the groundwork for additional spatial analysis relating fishing activity to spawning habitat and to local economies. By making these spatial associations we hope to generate a clearer picture of the economic values generated by riparian ecosystems and captured by anglers and captains from specific communities. "
  • Sustainable Economic Development for the Prince William Sound Region

    Fay, Ginny; Colt, Steve; Schwoerer, Tobias (National Wildlife Federation (Alaska Office), 2005)
    The Prince William Sound area possesses an array of the attractions that draw people to visit and live in Alaska: dramatic peaks and glaciers, an intricate coastline, old growth rainforest, alpine meadows, abundant wildlife, and distinct small towns and villages. It offers a valuable combination of accessibility and wilderness solitude. The area has many of the resources and products needed to position itself as a premier destination for the adventure, cultural, educational and ecotourism market segments. A key challenge for the region is to capture these economic opportunities while maintaining control over residents’ economic future and quality of life. The goals of this project are to: • Identify opportunities and challenges to diversify and grow the Prince William Sound economy while improving the quality of life for Prince William Sound residents and maintaining the exceptional natural environment. • Help foster and strengthen partnerships for economic development. • Consider new pathways to a prosperous economic future.
  • Southwest Alaska Network Long-Term Visitor Use Monitoring Protocol Development (Final Report)

    Colt, Steve; Fay, Ginny (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
    The purpose of this research is to assist the National Park Service (NPS), Southwest Alaska Network gain a better understanding of current visitor use volumes and patterns, develop a system to monitor visitor use over time, and use this information to evaluate the impact of visitors on the SW Network Park systems (Kenai Fjords National Park, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, and Katmai/Aniakchak/Alagnak National Park and Preserve) as part of the NPS Vital Signs Monitoring program. Data about visitor use are important because of the driving force humans have on ecosystems. Not only are total numbers of visitors important in understanding overall usage of park resources, but understanding the trends in visitor use can aid managers in minimizing the impacts of humans on sensitive animals and ecosystems. This report provides information on the project protocols, databases, and visitation trends.
  • Socioeconomic Review of Alaska's Bristol Bay Region

    Lowe, Marie (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
    This report provides a “desktop” socioeconomic and sociocultural review of the Bristol Bay Region prepared for the North Star Group by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Using secondary sources, the report characterizes the local population and its history by examining events that have influenced social change and how locals have adapted to that change. It reviews current social and economic issues in the region to provide a context for potential future mining development. Part 1 presents a regional overview with a description of Bristol Bay’s cultural history, demography, economy, institutions, and development context. Part 2 provides a more detailed overview of Bristol Bay’s sub-regions, accompanied by statistics about participation in subsistence activities, commercial fishing and other employment, and local use of public assistance.
  • Renewable Power in Rural Alaska: Improved Opportunities for Economic Deployment

    Crimp, Peter; Colt, Steve; Foster, Mark (2007)
    Sharp increases in the price of distillate fuel have led to wider economic opportunities for local renewable energy resources in the over 180 rural Alaskan communities that are served by electrical microgrids isolated from larger population centers. Between 2002 and 2007 the median price of diesel fuel for utility power generation in rural Alaska increased by 72% to $0.71/l ($2.70/gal). During this period the median unsubsidized residential cost of power increased by 20% to $0.468/kWh. The Alaska Rural Energy Plan, based on 2002 fuel costs, indicated widespread opportunities for cost-saving measures from end use efficiency, diesel generation efficiency, diesel combined heat and power, and wind energy. This paper assesses economics of small hydroelectric, wind-diesel, and biomass-fired combined heat and power under a range of future oil price assumptions.
  • Reindeer Markets in the Circumpolar North: An Economic Outlook

    Humphries, John (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
    The commercial production of caribou and reindeer meat is relatively small; it is estimated that less than 175,000 animals are harvested annually. Reindeer husbandry or commercial caribou hunts occur in seven circumpolar countries: Canada, Finland, Greenland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States yet total production is still very low. Properly processed reindeer meat is seen as a high-end luxury or specialty meat in all those countries except Russia. In addition to hide, both male and female reindeer produce horns, which are valuable and can be sold for between 4 and 14 dollars per pound. Overall, reindeer herding and caribou hunting has had wildly varying levels of success, although they seem to be struggling across the globe. This paper provides an economic analysis of the reindeer industry, so we can better understand its challenges, successes, and structure, examine the total size and production of the market, and evaluate the socio-economic tradeoffs between subsistence and commercial harvests. This paper examines the reindeer markets in Canada, Finland, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, and Alaska, though most emphasis is placed on North America. Russia has been left out of this analysis, due to the scale and complexity of reindeer herding in Russia and the difficulty of obtaining information on the subject. The first part of this paper will estimate total global production and will examine international trade and price discrepancies. Then three forms of herding and two forms of hunting in commercial operations will be reviewed. The current market structures in North American countries will be examined next. The fourth part of this paper will examine the state of the industry and the factors that affect its production choices on a global level. Finally, the choice between subsistence and commercial production will be examined from an economic viewpoint.
  • Municipality of Anchorage Baseline Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Base Year 2008

    Kelcie, Ralph; Welker, Marcus (Municipality of Anchorage, 2009)
    The Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) conducted a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory with a 2008 base year in order to quantify the results of initiatives to reduce the MOA’s current carbon footprint, place those initiatives into a broader strategic plan, and measure reductions going forward. The MOA conducted the carbon baseline because it is a signatory of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Over 710 U.S. Mayors have signed the agreement. Under the agreement, Anchorage must attempt to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets of 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012, encourage their state governments and federal government to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets, and urge the U.S. Congress to pass greenhouse gas reduction legislation establishing a national emissions trading system. The greenhouse gas emissions inventory is the first step for Anchorage to begin measuring the reductions of greenhouse gases as the MOA strives to meet the 7% reduction goal by 2012. The MOA chose to adopt the framework developed by the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) for measuring progress toward reduction goals because of its wide use, standardized methodology, and proven results. The ICLEI strategy has been adopted worldwide by over 1,000 communities working toward meet Kyoto Protocol carbon emission reduction targets.
  • Evaluation of the Alaska Interagency Aviation Safety Initiative

    Berman, Matthew; Martin, Stephanie; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
    Aviation crashes are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in Alaska. From 1990 through 1999, aviation crashes in Alaska caused 106 work-related pilot deaths. This rate is nearly five times the rate for U.S. pilots as a whole.1 In 2000, Congress passed legislation aimed at reducing the number of occupational aviation fatalities in Alaska by 50 percent for the years 2000 through 2009. This legislation created an interagency initiative—the Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative—to improve safety in Alaska through the combined efforts of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), the NOAAs National Weather Service (NWS), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The final Initiative tasks require the agencies to evaluate the programs created to promote aviation safety in Alaska. To that end, NIOSH contracted with the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). The following report looks at programs, infrastructure changes, accidents and accident rates between 1997 and 2004. It addresses the following questions: • Has flying become safer in Alaska? • Which types of flying (e.g., general aviation, commuter vs. air taxi flights) are the most risky, and which have shown changes in safety? • Where in Alaska is it most risky to fly? Has this changed? • To what extent can the data show that specific programs are associated with improved safety?

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