• Identifying the Potential for Cross-Fishery Spillovers: A Network Analysis of Alaskan Permitting Patterns, Working Paper, Resources for the Future

      Addicott, Ethan T.; Kroetz, Kailin; Reimer, Matthew; Sanchirico, James N.; Lew, Daniel K.; Huetteman, Justine (Resources for the Future, 2016-12-01)
      Many fishermen own a portfolio of permits across multiple fisheries, creating an opportunity for fishing effort to adjust across fisheries and enabling impacts from a policy change in one fishery to spill over into other fisheries. In regions with a large and diverse number of permits and fisheries, joint-permitting can result in a complex system, making it difficult to understand the potential for cross-fishery substitution. In this study, we construct a network representation of permit ownership to characterize interconnectedness between Alaska commercial fisheries due to cross-fishery permitting. The Alaska fisheries network is highly connected, suggesting that most fisheries are vulnerable to cross-fishery spillovers from network shocks, such as changes to policies or fish stocks. We find that fisheries with similar geographic proximity are more likely to be a part of a highly connected cluster of susceptible fisheries. We use a case study to show that preexisting network statistics can be useful for identifying the potential scope of policy-induced spillovers. Our results demonstrate that network analysis can improve our understanding of the potential for policy-induced cross-fishery spillovers.
    • Mechanisms matter for evaluating the economic impacts of marine reserves

      Reimer, Matthew (ScienceDirect, 2018-03-01)
      Large areas of marine and coastal environments have been protected to satisfy diverse policy goals, but there has been limited work understanding the economic impacts of such closures. While methods for establishing causal impacts are prevalent, less attention has been paid to explaining the mechanisms through which the causal relationship came to be. Understanding mechanisms is crucial for designing policies that foster the mechanisms that achieve the intended objectives of marine reserves and mitigate the mechanisms that do not. We estimate the treatment effect of a large marine reserve on the net earnings of a commercial fishery using difference-in-differences and synthetic-control designs, and decompose the treatment effect into its constituent mechanisms through structural equation modeling. We find minimal evidence that closing the marine reserve to fishing had a significant economic cost for the industry; however, several counteracting mechanisms are critical for explaining the effect and for generalizing to other settings.
    • Universal Cash and Crime

      Watson, Brett; Reimer, Matthew; Guettabi, Mouhcine (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska, 2019)
      We estimate the effects of universal cash transfers on crime from Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend, an annual lump-sum payment to all Alaska residents. We find a 14% increase in substance-abuse incidents the day after the payment and a 10% increase over the following four weeks. This is partially offset by a 8% decrease in property crime, with no changes in violent crimes. On an annual basis, however, changes in criminal activity from the payment are small. Estimated costs comprise a very small portion of the total payment, suggesting that crime-related concerns of a universal cash transfer program may be unwarranted.
    • Universal Cash Transfers and Labor Market Outcomes

      Bibler, Andrew; Guettabi, Mouhcine; Reimer, Matthew (SSRN, 2019)
      One major criticism of universal basic income is that unconditional cash transfers discourage recipients from working. We estimate the causal effects of a universal cash transfer on short-run labor market activity by exploiting the timing and variation of a long-running unconditional and universal transfer: Alaska's Permanent Fund Dividend. We find evidence of both a positive labor demand and negative labor supply response to the transfers, document important heterogeneity across workers, and provide a set of placebo tests supporting our main results. Altogether, a $1,000 increase in the per-person disbursement leads to a 0.2% labor market contraction on an annual basis.
    • Universal Cash Transfers Reduce Childhood Obesity Rates

      Watson, Brett; Reimer, Matthew; Guettabi, Mouhcine (SSRN, 2019)
      We evaluate the impact of universal income on childhood obesity. While the goals of implementing universal income are many, its influence on childhood obesity is of particular interest given the growing obesity epidemic and its future threat to global public health. We use evidence from Alaska’s universal income program, the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD), which has provided annual, unconditional, and universal income to Alaskan residents for over thirty-five years. We use both survey and administrative data to evaluate how the availability of unconditional resources at an early developmental stage, in terms of PFD payments to the child, affects a child’s body mass index (BMI). Using date-of-birth eligibility cut-offs as an identification strategy, we find that an additional one thousand dollars in PFD payments decreases the probability of an Alaskan child being obese by as much as 4.5 percentage points. Back-of-the-envelope calculations for Alaska suggest these reduction may avert 500 cases of obesity and achieve medical cost savings of $2-10 million per year. These findings highlight just one of the potential social benefits of universal income and the potential it has as a tool for addressing the obesity epidemic.