Recent Submissions

  • Testimony on SJR 38 "The Cremo Plan"

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
    This document was submitted as testimony to the Alaska Senate State Affairs Committee by Professor Scott Goldsmith on January 28, 1994. The Cremo proposal would establish, by constitutional amendment, a system under which all natural resource revenues would be deposited into the Alaska Permanent Fund and each year a fixed percentage of the fund assets, equal to the long run average real return on the Fund would be withdrawn for appropriation by the legislature. Based upon the analysis provided by Mr. Cremo, the amount available for appropriation (income budget) would be $3.079 billion in 1996, the first year of the transition phase, and $2.860 billion in 2005, the last year of the transition phase. In evaluating this plan the potential risks and costs should be identified and the plan should be compared to alternative methods of addressing the problems targeted in the plan. In this testimony, the potential problems and alternative policies are discussed, particularly specific problems associated with dependence on oil revenues.
  • What Do Alaskan's with Disabilities Need?

    Hanna, Virgene (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
    More than 20,000 Alaskas - 4 percent of the state population- are disabled and live outside institutions. Most of them of getting medical care, but many lack special equipment, information, and other help they need. These are among the findings of a recent ISER survey of more than 4300 Alaska households. It is the first survey of its kind in the nation to determine how many disabled persons live on their own and what they need to continue living independently.
  • Historical Sketch of Elections for Local Control of Alcohol in Alaska Communities

    Hull, Teresa; Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
    This document provides tabulated information about elections in Alaska which had an option for Local Option Control of Alcoholic Beverages.
  • Gulf of Alaska Coastal Communities: An Overview

    Hull, Teresa; Larson, Eric (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
    The Gulf of Alaska Coastal Communities Coalition is helping Gulf Coast communities find ways to promote development and preserve lifestyles. To assist the Coalition, researchers at the Institute of Social and Economic Research have gathered and organized information for a selection of Gulf Coast communities. The information provides a basis for community residents, the Coalition, Native corporations, regulatory agencies, and others to make decisions about development in these communities. This report summarizes the assembled data and identifies patterns, trends, and significant exceptions in the data. The next section of this report (Part II) provides a broad overview of the entire Gulf Coast. Part III looks in more detail at each region. Part IV contains extensive tables with detailed information for each community. Throughout this report, the footnotes at the bottom of the pages refer to the tables in Part IV with more detailed information.
  • Timber Harvest and Wood Products Manufacture in Alaska - 1995 and 1996 Update

    Hull, Teresa; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
    This report provides information about the timber and wood products industry gathered from a variety of sources. It includes data for the entire state and for three regions within the state, and brings together previously available data on timber harvests and wood products exports, as well as new data derived from information ISER collected in surveys of loggers and wood processors. We hope the data will be useful for both public and private planning efforts, as well as informed policy debate over timber management and development of the forest products industry.
  • Simple Fiscal Outlook Model for Rural Alaska Communities

    Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
    The Northwest Arctic Borough (NAB) faces a growing population and increased demands for education and public services. At the request of the Assembly, I have prepared a fiscal planning model that can be used to explore what might happen to the Borough's revenues and expenses over the next 20 years. The model looks at both general government and the NAB School District (NABSD). The model allows us to ask "what if....?" questions and get quick answers about how things might change. These cases demonstrate that if the Borough issues new debt that is considered to be "in lieu" of existing cash contributions to the School District for deferred maintenance, then it can cause a large decrease in foundation funding to the School District and would require significant additional school budget cuts. (The case presented already assumes continual tightening of the instruction budget.) Obviously there are variations on the assumptions presented here for Case 3 (new bonds) that would improve the foundation funding amounts. However the overall picture that seems to emerge is that without a continuation of local revenues passed through to the School District, the new bonds are not fiscally sustainable.
  • Salmon Fish Traps in Alaska: An Economic History Perspective

    Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
    Salmon return faithfully to their stream of birth and can be efficiently caught by fixed gear. But since the introduction at the turn of the century of fish traps to the emerging Alaska commercial salmon fishery, most territorial residents fought for their abolition even while admitting to their technical efficiency. The new State of Alaska immediately banned traps in 1959. I estimate the economic rents generated by the Alaska salmon traps as they were actually deployed and find that they saved roughly $4 million (1967 dollars) per year, or about 12% of the ex-vessel value of the catch. I also find strong evidence that the fishermen operating from boats earned zero profits throughout the 20th century. Thus the State's ban on fish traps did allow 6,000 additional people to enter the fishery, but did nothing to boost average earnings.
  • Rural Alaska Hydroelectric Assessment: Stage 2 Economic Evaluation of Hydroelectric Projects in Atka, Hoonah, Old Harbor, and Unalaska

    Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
    This memorandum summarizes the economic evaluation of four candidate hydroelectric projects. For each site, the evaluation procedure compares the total costs of electric power with and without hydro over a 35 year planning period extending through the year 2032. The memo is organized into four sections, one for each candidate site. An appendix provides further notes on model mechanics.
  • Operations and Maintenance Issues in Rural Alaska Sanitation

    Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
    Today, many rural Alaskans have inadequate water and sanitation facilities. As a result, they face unacceptable health risks and an unacceptably poor quality of life. While much has been accomplished during the past 30 years, the honey bucket remains the primary form of sanitation in scores of communities. This paper is intended to stimulate discussion about several issues related to operations and maintenance of rural sanitation systems. The paper focuses on operations and maintenance issues because so many observers agree that proper O&M is crucial to success but severely lacking in many communities today. Section 2 reviews the prior recommendations of the Alaska Sanitation Task Force and issues raised during meetings of the Federal Field Work Group. Section 3 provides some discussion of these recommendations and issues, based on subsequent research. Section 4 provides a simple method for quantifying the benefits of preventive maintenance and R&D. Section 5 discusses mechanisms for providing O&M assistance. Section 6 provides three case studies of life cycle costs for three different system types.
  • Measured Energy Savings from Weatherization Alaska vs. National Results

    Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
    This memorandum reviews the differences in measured energy savings from 102 Alaska weatherized homes (ISER 1993) compared with savings from a "cold-climate" region of the United States (ORNL 1993). The National study found a significantly higher level of gross energy saving (12.5%) in its sample of 1040 gas-heated homes than the Alaska study found in is sample of 102 homes. Alaska' lower level of percentage gas savings, relative to the US cold-climate region, cannot be attributed to differences in sampling, data retention, or analytical technique using PRISM. When measured by gas consumption per degree-day, the Alaska sample of weatherized homes appears to have higher thermal integrity prior to weatherization. From different starting points, both Alaska and US single-family homes appear to be achieving a post-weatherization thermal integrity of about .155 cf per degree-day. Alaska mobile homes reach a roughly similar final level of .142 ccf per HDD, commensurate with their smaller size.
  • Financial Performance of Alaska Native Regional Corporations

    Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
    This edition of the Alaska Review of Social and Economic Conditions examines one narrow measure of how well Alaska Native Corporations have done in managing nearly 1 billion dollars and 44 million acres for the benefit of their shareholders. It describes the financial performance of the regional corporations from their beginnings in 1973 through 1990. We also report available information on shareholder employment. The endowment of natural resources in each region explains a lot about the relative financial success of the corporations: some regions just have more marketable resources than others. But aside from the differences attributable to random resource distribution, we can make several points about the corporations' cumulative financial performance over this period.
  • Tracking the Structure of the Alaska Economy: The ISER MAP Database

    Goldsmith, Scott; Hull, Teresa (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
    This document is predominantly tabulated data with no interpretive or contextual information.
  • Kodiak Population Projections

    Goldsmith, Scott; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
    The City of Kodiak asked the Institute of Social and Economic Research to generate population projections through 2020 for the city and the adjacent area (Service Area l) served by city sewer. The projections currently used in planning a new wastewater treatment facility extremely high to many knowledgeable observers. ISER reviewed the existing population projections and generated an independent set of projections based on our explicit analysis of the Kodiak economy and demography. In the projections for Kodiak Island Borough. tourism and seafood are the driving factors in explaining projected population growth. Other wage and salary and federal government categories also drive some growth, but are less important.
  • Structural Analysis of the Alaska Economy: A Perspective from 1997

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
    The structure of the Alaska economy is reflected in the share of personal income and employment attributable to each of the BASIC industrial sectors and other external sources of household purchasing power. We identify twelve activities upon which the size and composition of the Alaska economy depends and trace their growth over time. Although an oversimplification of reality, the economic base model is a useful tool for studying the structure of the Alaska economy. In the economic base model, BASIC activities are the source of economic growth for the regional economy. Our analysis offers a consistent methodology but is not a detailed historical investigation of each individual industry. A more comprehensive analysis would further refine the attributions we have made, but we feel that the representation of the structure of the economy presented in this report is valid and useful as a description of the economy.
  • Safe Landing: Charting a Flight Path Through the Clouds

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
    Everybody’s got an idea about where to find the roughly $1 billion we’ll need to balance the state budget every year from now on. It’s hard to evaluate these proposals, because the budget is complicated—and it’s hard to imagine how much $1 billion really is. This paper looks first at why some popular ideas can’t raise $1 billion a year, although they can certainly help. Then, in the foldout, we try to help Alaskans see through the clouds obscuring the “Safe Landing” strategy, which we first talked about in 1992. This strategy says that dealing with such a big deficit requires using a combination (and there are a number of possible combinations) of budget cuts, windfalls, Permanent Fund earnings, new taxes, and economic development.
  • Safe Landing: A Fiscal Strategy for the 1990s

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1992)
    Alaska is poised for either a safe landing or a nose dive. Whether we land safely or crash depends on how Alaskans deal with declining oil revenue. Since oil began flowing from the Prudhoe Bay field 15 years ago, Alaska’s government and economy have come to depend on state taxes and royalties from oil production. Oil revenue makes up 85 percent of the state’s general revenue, and it creates 30 percent of Alaskans’ personal income. But North Slope production is now declining as the giant Prudhoe Bay field ages. Luckily, Alaska has the resources it needs to make the difficult transition. This paper outlines a comprehensive but flexible strategy for moving Alaska through the 1990s with a minimum of economic damage and into the next century with a government that is smaller but still able to provide essential services and support a healthy economy.
  • Review of the Alaska Health Facility Input Price Index

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
    The purpose of the Alaska Health Facility Input Price Index (AHFIPI) is to describe and estimate the cost inflation in hospital and nursing home services in Alaska. If the Alaska economy is expected to grow more slowly than the US economy it does not seem reasonable for the Alaska Health Facilities Input Price Index to forecast higher inflation than for the US for the years 1994 through 1997. Since the other proxy variables in the index are regional or national, the faster rate of inflation for the Alaska index is entirely attributable to the higher predicted AHE inflation rate. Other evidence suggests that the trend in Alaska costs is to increase more slowly that the national average and that this projection of more rapid inflation is inconsistent with that historical evidence. These data sources suggest that overall prices, Alaska health costs, and wagerates in general are rising less rapidly than the US average and that these trends will continue unless some can be identified which would reverse them.
  • Population, Employment, and Income Projections for Alaska Census Areas

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
    These projections have been prepared to accompany the statewide and regional projections prepared by ISER in March 1997 for the Alaska Department of Transportation. Those projections appeared in a report entitled Alaska's Economy and Population, 1959-2020. This document contains tabulated data with very little interpretive or contextual information. Please see the aforementioned report for these details.
  • Permanent Fund Policy Questions and Informal Review of Proposals for Change

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
    The growing importance of the Permanent Fund in the fiscal, economic, political and social life of the state requires that we periodically review how it is working, not necessarily to change it, but to ensure that it is continuing to do what is best for Alaska. This paper reviews recent proposals for changes in Permanent Fund policies using a series of questions that each stakeholder should consider. The answers to these questions should help to evaluate those proposals and stimulate thought about the role of the Permanent Fund in Alaska's future. Prepared for Principles and Interests: The Permanent Fund and Alaska's Future, a conference sponsored by the Alaska Humanities Forum.
  • Northstar Oil Field: Economic Impact Analysis

    Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
    This analysis explores the economic impacts associated with the development of the Northstar oil field on Alaska's North Slope. It is based on the most current information about the project and updates an earlier study by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) entitled The Northstar Project:Economic Impacts, published in April 1996. The analysis is based in large part on information provided to ISER by British Petroleum Exploration (Alaska), Inc. Since the project is under continuous review and subject to regulatory and judicial delays of uncertain length the parameters of the project are subject to change. However the general description of the economic effects of the project are unlikely to change dramatically as evidenced by the general agreement regarding project economics in this analysis and the prior study. The general methodology of this analysis is similar to that outlined in the prior ISER study entitled Marginal Oil Field Development: The Economic Impact, published in June 1995.

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