• Alaska's North Slope Borough Revisited

      Knapp, Gunnar; Morehouse, Thomas (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
      Alaska's North Slope Borough, established in 1972, is in many ways a unique institution of Native-controlled local government in the north. The borough represents a significant case study of Native self-determination under unusually favorable conditions: indigenous, local control of both resource wealth and political power. The North Slope Borough has been the instrument by which the Inupiat of the North Slope have successfully captured and used the oil wealth in their region, with clear economic and political benefits. They have gained high levels of local public services, jobs, and incomes; and effective representation in negotiations with external corporate and government authorities. The borough has also helped to preserve and adapt critical elements of traditional Inupiat culture. Costs of development and change under North Slope Borough leadership have included waste and inefficiency as well as crime and corruption. Centralized power in borough headquarters has reduced the independence of the borough villages and encouraged borough · citizens to act like clients and consumers. The Borough economy remains dependent upon uncertain tax revenues from the oil industry, with uncertain future employment opportunities for a rapidly growing Native population. North Slope Borough government has provided the Alaska arctic Inupiat with means to greater political self-sufficiency. Overall, the North Slope Borough has responded effectively, under great pressure, to the opportunities and the problems that petroleum development has brought to the region.
    • 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.
    • The Status of Alaska Natives Report 2004 Volumes I - III

      Leask, Linda; Marshall, David; Goldsmith, Scott; Hill, Alexandra; Angvik, Jane; Howe, Lance; Saylor, Brian L. (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2004)
      The Alaska Federation of Natives asked ISER to report on social and economic conditions among Alaska Natives. We found that Natives have more jobs, higher incomes, and better living conditions, health care, and education than ever. But they remain several times more likely than other Alaskans to be poor and out of work. Alcohol continues to fuel widespread social problems. Native students continue to do poorly on standard tests, and they’re dropping out in growing numbers. Rates of heart disease and diabetes are rising. In the face of all these challenges, subsistence remains critical for cultural and economic reasons. And there are more challenges to come. In the coming decade, when economic growth is likely to be slower than in the past, thousands more young Alaska Natives will be moving into the job market. Volume II and Volume III of the Status of Alaska Natives Report contain data tables generated from the 2000 U.S. census describing the Alaska Native American population by the 12 Alaska Native Regional Corporation boundaries. Volume II shows data for the population in Alaska reporting Native American as their only race (Alaska Native or American Indian Alone) and Volume III shows data for the population reporting Native American in combination with some other race (Alaska Native or American Indian Alone or in Combination). At the time of the 2000 Census, there were 98,043 single-race Native Americans in Alaska and 119,241 people who identified themselves as Native American in combination with some other race. The tables in these volumes have been generated from a special file prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau that contains detailed information on the Native American population for the entire United States. The AIANSF (American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File) is accessible on the internet at http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet"
    • 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.