• Achieving Alaska Native Self-Governance: Toward Implementation of the Alaska Natives Commission Report

      Fischer, Victor; Morehouse, Thomas; Cornell, Stephen; Taylor, Jonathon; Grant, Kenneth (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1999)
      Renewed attention recently has been focused on Alaska’s Native communities. News accounts, government reports, and academic studies make it clear that Native communities continue to struggle with serious socioeconomic problems despite extensive federal and state programs designed to address them. The public debates arising out of the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Venetie case, the formation of the governor’s Rural Governance Commission (not to mention previous commissions), and continuing subsistence conflicts highlight unresolved questions about what Native, state, and federal institutions should do to address the problems of village Alaska. Finally, the recent Alaska Inter-Tribal Council (AITC)-Rural Alaska Community Action Program (RurAL CAP) Conference of Tribes and the subsequent march, rally, and declaration illustrate continuing Native resolve to address the problems them- selves. Clearly there is consensus that Native problems need urgent attention, but there is less agreement on what is to be done. A central issue in this debate concerns Native self-governance. Can Native self-governance do a better job of dealing with Native problems than non- Native efforts have done? What should be the extent of such governance? What forms should it take? This report considers these and related questions. Please note that this version of the report differs from previous version in that it removes the authors recommendations, as this task is being taken on at the organizational level by the AFN.
    • Adaptation to climate change in coastal communities: findings from seven sites on four continents

      Berman, Matthew; Kofinas, Gary (Climatic Change, 2019-10-26)
      Climate change is causing wide-ranging effects on ecosystem services critical to coastal communities and livelihoods, creating an urgent need to adapt. Most studies of climate change adaptation consist of narrative descriptions of individual cases or global synthesis, making it difficult to formulate and test locally rooted but generalizable hypotheses about adaptation processes. In contrast, researchers in this study analyzed key points in climate change adaptation derived from coordinated fieldwork in seven coastal communities around the world, including Arctic, temperate, and tropical areas on four continents. Study communities faced multiple challenges from sea level rise and warmer ocean temperatures, including coastal erosion, increasing salinity, and ecological changes. We analyzed how the communities adapted to climate effects and other co-occurring forces for change, focusing on most important changes to local livelihoods and societies, and barriers to and enablers of adaptation. Although many factors contributed to adaptation, communities with strong self-organized local institutions appeared better able to adapt without substantial loss of well-being than communities where these institutions were weak or absent. Key features of these institutions included setting and enforcing rules locally and communication across scales. Self-governing local institutions have been associated with sustainable management of natural resources. In our study communities, analogous institutions played a similar role to moderate adverse effects from climate-driven environmental change. The findings suggest that policies to strengthen, recognize, and accommodate local institutions could improve adaptation outcomes.
    • Adapting to Environmental and Social Change: Subsistence in Three Aleutian Communities

      Schmidt, Jennifer; Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2018-04-19)
      Our surroundings and society are both constantly evolving. Some changes are due to natural processes. People are responsible for other changes, because of what we do—for example, increasing the size of the population, expanding technology, and increasing mobility and connectivity. And some changes—like climate change—are due to a combination of natural processes and actions of people. In the Arctic, including the Aleutian Islands, marine and coastal ecosystems have seen the largest number of regime shifts with direct and indirect consequences for subsistence activities, commercial fisheries, and coastal communities (Council 2016). This paper describes current subsistence activities and changes local residents have observed over time in three Aleutian Island communities—Akutan, Nikolski, and Atka. As described more later, we did initial household surveys in 2016 and a second round in 2017, as well as more detailed interviews with some residents.
    • AFN Implementation Study: Proposals to the United States Congress to Implement Recommendations of the Alaska Natives Commission Pursuant To P.L. 104-270

      Fischer, Victor; Spivey, Pete (Alaska Federation of Natives, 1999)
      The AFN Implementation Project is part of a continuum of reports highlighting the critical situation of Alaska Natives and proposing actions to address problems. Each report, each hearing, each resolution, each act is built on what came before and is a step toward resolving problems and meeting the aspirations of Alaska's Native peoples.The AFN process found that although most previously identified social, cultural, and economic problems persist, progress is being made. Innovations are coming about in areas of self-governance, education, delivery of health and other services, and other endeavors. Such progress has come about through both the efforts of Alaska Natives and the support provided by the Congress and federal agencies. Yet, social and economic needs remain tremendous, and it is toward meeting these that the AFN process has been directed. This report has a strict focus on recommendations. So as not to detract from this focus, we hold explanations to a minimum. Background and related research material are not presented here. They are available and will be marshaled as needed to back up and implement specific proposals.
    • After Broadband: A Study of Organizational Use of Broadband in Southwest Alaska

      Hudson, Heather E.; Sharp, Suzanne; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-06-01)
      The purpose of this research was to gain a preliminary understanding of how organizations including large and small businesses, Native corporations and organizations, and local and regional governments are using broadband that is now available in much of southwest Alaska. To learn about community access to broadband, interviews were also conducted with library and school staff in communities where broadband had been installed under the OWL (Online with Libraries) program. Further, the study identifies research from other sources that could help to predict what socio-economic impacts the availability and adoption of broadband may have in rural Alaska. Financial institutions use online connections for teller services and credit and debit card processing, and stated that more people in rural communities now have debit cards that they can use for online purchases and bill paying. Large retailers use online services for payroll, for pointof-sale (POS) transactions, and online ordering. Seafood processors rely heavily on connectivity with their head offices (generally in the lower 48) for administrative services including payroll, accounting, shipping and receiving, purchasing, and ERP (enterprise resource planning), and access data base software to track fish tickets. Seafood processors also provide Internet access for their employees, most of whom are seasonal and from other states or countries. Tourism businesses use broadband for online reservation systems and for guests, who increasingly demand connectivity even for remote vacations. Village corporations and tribal councils use online services to help their residents obtain hunting and fishing licenses and fishing permits, to learn about funding opportunities, and to file reports on grants. Local Governments connect online for interoffice communications and for payroll and other administrative functions. Other online applications and services include providing remote desktop access from other agency sites, use of online tools for land management and mapping, training including webinars for workforce development, and providing access to social services for clients. An economic development organization sends newsletters to communities electronically and packets of documents to its board members rather than relying on fax or courier. Websites are important for tourism-related businesses to advertise and promote their businesses and for nonprofits and local governments to provide information about their services. 5 Broadband now plays many roles in rural education. Most students are required to use the Internet for class assignments. High school students can connect to classes in advanced subjects in other communities, and may complete online courses for college credit. Libraries remain important locations for community access, with residents going online to connect with friends on Facebook, as well as to download content for e-books, file income tax, and apply for jobs and government benefits. School and library Wi-Fi provides access inside and near the buildings for residents with smartphones. Despite enthusiasm for broadband and the adoption of many broadband-based applications and services, most organizations interviewed identified problems with broadband, particularly with the pricing, stating that the terrestrial broadband network is too costly for them to take full advantage of online services and applications. While the scope of this study was too limited to estimate long-term benefits, it found that broadband is highly valued and increasingly important to businesses and nonprofit organizations and local governments in southwest Alaska. Broadband helps businesses to be more efficient in their operations and to extend their reach to new customers and suppliers. It also helps to improve the effectiveness of public sector services such as those provided by borough and city governments and extends access to education and training. Broadband is also likely to be an important component of strategies to develop ecotourism and other ecosystem services.
    • Agent-Based Modeling of the Bristol Bay Drift Gillnet Salmon Fishery

      Chasco, Brandon; Knapp, Gunnar; Hilborn, Ray (School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, 2006)
      Alaska’s Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery is the world’s largest fishery for this species. Between 1980 and 2005, annual catches averaged 24 million fish, with an annual average ex-vessel value of US$165 million. Historically, the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery has accounted for 20-40% of the total value of Alaska salmon fisheries. Similar to most other Alaska salmon fisheries, Bristol Bay fisheries are managed to achieve escapement goals for several major river systems flowing into Bristol Bay. Fish- ing is allowed during period “openings” over the season to catch returning salmon surplus to escapement goals. In general, the current management system is reasonably successful from a biological point of view, in the sense that managers are usually able to control fishing effort to achieve escapement goals. Our initial fishery data analysis supports key model relationships that we have hypothesized have important implications for how prices, runs, and management may affect the Bristol Bay fishery. For example, the higher the ex-vessel value of the fishery, the more rapid the rate of permit outmigration from the Bristol Bay region.
    • Air and Water Violations in Alaska 2011-2019

      Loefflor, Bob (5/7/2020)
      Alaskans care about their environment. Whenever we discuss development and conservation proposals, there is always a discussion about whether our water and air are being protected and whether some industries have a good record protecting our air and water. Or not.
    • Alaska 1332 Waiver - Economic Analysis

      Bibler, Andrew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-12-23)
      The four guardrails that a successful 1332 waiver must meet are as follows: 1. Coverage - There must be at least a comparable number of individuals with coverage under the waiver as would have had coverage without the waiver. 2. Affordability – The waiver should not result in an increase in out-of-pocket spending required of residents to obtain coverage, relative to income. 3. Comprehensiveness – The waiver should not decrease the number of individuals with coverage that meets the essential health benefits (EHB) benchmark. 4. Deficit Neutrality – The waiver should not have any negative impact on the federal deficit. In this report, the first three guardrails are briefly discussed to reaffirm that the actuarial analysis conducted by Oliver Wyman demonstrates that the proposed waiver meets them. The actuarial report from Oliver Wyman projects that the proposed waiver will increase the number of individuals taking up insurance in the individual market, lower average premiums, and have no impact on the comprehensiveness of coverage. The numbers reported in the actuarial analysis are then used to help evaluate the impact that the proposed waiver will have on the federal budget.
    • Alaska 1332 Waiver- Economic Analysis

      Bibler, Andrew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-12-01)
      The four guardrails that a successful 1332 waiver must meet are as follows: 1. Coverage - There must be at least a comparable number of individuals with coverage under the waiver as would have had coverage without the waiver. 2. Affordability – The waiver should not result in an increase in out-of-pocket spending required of residents to obtain coverage, relative to income. 3. Comprehensiveness – The waiver should not decrease the number of individuals with coverage that meets the essential health benefits (EHB) benchmark. 4. Deficit Neutrality – The waiver should not have any negative impact on the federal deficit. In this report, the first three guardrails are briefly discussed to reaffirm that the actuarial analysis conducted by Oliver Wyman demonstrates that the proposed waiver meets them. The actuarial report from Oliver Wyman projects that the proposed waiver will increase the number of individuals taking up insurance in the individual market, lower average premiums, and have no impact on the comprehensiveness of coverage. The numbers reported in the actuarial analysis are then used to help evaluate the impact that the proposed waiver will have on the federal budget. There are at least four ways in which the waiver will have an important impact on the federal budget, which are summarized in Table 1. Table 1: Impact of Proposed Waiver on Budget Direction of Effect APTC Savings + Individual Shared Responsibility Payments - Health Insurance Providers Fee - Federal Exchange User Fees - Overall Impact on Budget + The first and most important impact of the waiver is that it will lead to a reduction in premiums. The reduction in premiums reduces the amount of Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC) that individuals will be eligible for and generates savings of $50 - $100 million per year from 2018 through 2026. There are also three routes through which the waiver will negatively impact the budget by decreasing revenue: individual shared responsibility payments, health insurance providers fees, and federal exchange user fees. Because the waiver will lead to more individuals taking up insurance in the individual market, fewer individuals will owe 2 Attachment 4 Alaska 1332 Waiver - Economic Analysis December 23, 2016 the individual penalty for not having health insurance. The health insurance providers fee depends on the amount of premiums aggregated to the national level. Because the waiver depresses premiums in the Alaska individual insurance market, it will have a secondary negative effect on the total amount collected through the providers fee for years 2019 through 2026. Lower premiums also reduce the amount collected in federal exchange user fees, a 3.5% tax imposed on premiums sold through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace. The aggregate impact on the budget is positive, because the APTC savings outweigh the combined negative impact of the other three channels. Table 2 summarizes the aggregate impact of the four components on the federal budget. Year Final Savings 2016 $0 2017 $0 2018 $48,973,684 2019 $52,260,336 2020 $56,108,411 2021 $61,486,732 2022 $65,612,013 2023 $72,213,851 2024 $77,717,467 2025 $84,814,665 2026 $91,785,506 Table 2: Estimated Savings from Waiver (Before Pass-Through Funding) The overall impact through these four components is about $49 million in savings in 2018. Savings increase in every year thereafter, reaching nearly $92 million in 2026. The savings listed in Table 2 are before the granting of any pass-through funding, so they suggest that as long as pass-through funding is less than or equal to these figures, the proposed waiver will meet the federal deficit neutrality requirement.
    • Alaska after Prudhoe Bay: Sustainability of an Island Economy

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-03)
      The typical sovereign island economy is small and remote. For example the remote island nations of Nauru, Niue, and Saint Helena have populations in the range of 10 thousand each. Of course not all island nations are small or remote and neither are small or remote economies necessarily islands. However it is useful to think about the economies of small and remote islands because they can help us to understand the economic structure and prospects of larger and less remote places. Island economies generally lack a comparative advantage in the production of goods or services for export to the rest of the world. This is due to distance from markets and suppliers as well as an absence of economies of scale and specialization, both of which drive up the cost of exporting goods and services. And although the economic theory of comparative advantage tells us that trade among countries can occur even if one has an advantage in the production of all goods and services, that theory can break down if costs in the small and remote economy are too high. The mechanism by which the island economy gains access to export markets in the presence of high costs is through downward adjustment in the wage. But in some cases the wage would need to become negative to overcome the cost disadvantages created by distance and size. In such a case the island would have a subsistence economy with neither exports to the rest of the world or imports. The most important private economic activities one observes in these economies are agriculture and fishing. Occasionally an island economy will be able to take advantage of a market niche to generate exports. Tourism is the most common, and mining has provided an export base in some other places. However these market activities will not necessarily be large enough to employ a large share of the population. Furthermore dependence on a single activity leaves these economies vulnerable or “precarious”.As a consequence many of these economies are dependent on foreign aid and remittances from emigrants. These funds allow these economies to purchase a basic level of imports that would not otherwise be possible
    • Alaska Civic Learning Assesment Project: Final Report and Policy Brief

      Fickel, Letitia; Hirshberg, Diane; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
      In late 2002, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and Carnegie Corporation of New York, in consultation with the Corporation for National and Community Service, convened a series of meetings involving some of the nation’s most distinguished and respected scholars and practitioners in the area of civic education. The purpose was to determine, based on solid data and evidence, the components of effective and feasible civic learning programs. Representing a diversity of political views, a variety of disciplines, and various approaches, these individuals shared a common vision of a richer, more comprehensive approach to civic education in the United States, notwithstanding some disagreement about aspects of how civic education should be conducted. Their final report, entitled The Civic Mission of Schools, is a compelling statement of the national landscape regarding civic learning and the critical role that schools play in fostering citizenship education. The goal of the ACLA Project is to better understand the current state of K-12 civic learning in Alaska and to assess the civic knowledge and experiences of Alaska's youth. The project has focused on both civics topics common across the United States and those unique to Alaska, with the goal of informing efforts to improve civic education in the state. After a brief overview of national research on civic education, this report presents findings from the ACLA Project research on the current status of civic education in Alaska, the civic knowledge of youth and adults, and the attitudes about civic education held by educators, youth and elders.
    • Alaska Coastal Community Youth and the Future

      Lowe, Marie E.; Wilson, Meghan; Robyn, Miller; Sanders, Kate (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2012-06)
    • Alaska Community Fuel Use

      Saylor, Ben; Wilson, Meghan; Szymoniak, Nick; Fay, Ginny; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-10)
      The goal of this project was to estimate the amount of fuel used for space heating and electricity production by communities in Alaska. No comprehensive Alaska fuel use data exist at the community level. Community fuel consumption by type of fuel and end use is needed to estimate the potential economic benefits from demand- and supply-side investments in fuel use reduction projects. These investments include weatherization and housing stock improvements; improved lighting, appliance and space heating efficiencies; waste heat capture; electric interties, and alternative energy supply options such as wind and hydroelectric generation. Ultimately the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) and others can use this information to rank and select a suite of projects that provide the largest gains in fuel reductions at the lowest long-term costs and the highest returns on investment over the life of the projects. Study communities consisted of Power Cost Equalization (PCE) eligible communities. Communities in the North Slope Borough were excluded because fuel subsidies offered by the borough result in different patterns of energy use by households.
    • Alaska Economic Database: Charting Four Decades of Change

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2000)
      This document contains data collated over four decades between 1961 and 1998. Data included in this document relate to employment, Alaska and state gross product, earnings, wages, salaries, labor market, price indices, and other economic indicators considered to be important at the time of collection.
    • Alaska Economic Indicators

      Goldsmith, Scott; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
      Analysis of the economic indicators clearly shows the deceleration of the Alaska economy which has occurred in 1991. The influence of the oil spill cleanup effort is no longer a significant factor in determining the course of the economy, thus allowing the other economic drivers to reassert their influence. This report is made up primarily of tabulated and charted data with a short commentary regarding key economic indicators of employment, income, and 'miscellaneous' items such as building activity.
    • The Alaska Economy And The Challenge Ahead

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 11/1/2015)
    • The Alaska Economy And The Challenge Ahead

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 11/1/2015)
    • Alaska Economy: An Overview

      Larson, Eric (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1990)
      Understanding the composition of the Alaska economy is important for research, policy analysis, and project assessment. This report provides a fundamental description of the Alaska economy using basic economic principles and measures of economic activity. Measurements such as employment, income, wages, and output serve as the basis for this analysis. When used together, these measures provide a more complete view of the economy than any single economic measure. Section I of this report describes the Alaska economy as a whole by identifying the most important dimensions of economic activity, introducing the measures used to observe this activity, and describing the major changes in these measures over the past twenty years. Section II analyzes the structure of the Alaska economy by breaking the economy into its major components and describing the contribution of each sector.
    • Alaska Election Security Report - Phase 1

      Mock, Kenrick; Martin, Stephanie; Picard, LuAnn; Ayers, Mark; Hoffman, David (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
      Alaska voters depend on a chain of people and equipment to keep their votes secure—to count and report the votes accurately and protect the secrecy of individual ballots. How secure is Alaska’s voting system? That’s what Alaska’s lieutenant governor and the Division of Elections asked the University of Alaska Anchorage to find out. We’re reporting here on the first phase of what will be a multi-phase study of Alaska’s election security. The last phase will be completed before the 2008 presidential election. What we found so far is in many ways reassuring: Alaska’s system has a number of features that address security. Paper ballots remain the official ballots, and they back up electronic counts. Vote counts are cross-checked in different locations. Alaska also has a centralized system for federal and state elections. In this first phase of the project, we did several tasks: • Examined Alaska’s voting system, including equipment and procedures. • Did detailed reviews of election-security studies for California and Florida and interviewed researchers who conducted those studies. • Identified areas of Alaska’s system that need more evaluation.
    • Alaska Election Security Report, Phase 2, Executive Summary

      Martin, Stephanie; Picard, LuAnn; Ayers, Mark; Hoffman, David B.; Mock, Kenrick (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-04)
      A laska’s election system is among the most secure in the country, and it has a number of safeguards other states are now adopting. But the technology Alaska uses to record and count votes could be improved— and the state’s huge size, limited road system, and scattered communities also create special challenges for insuring the integrity of the vote. In this second phase of an ongoing study of Alaska’s election security, we recommend ways of strengthening the system—not only the technology but also the election procedures. The lieutenant governor and the Division of Elections asked the University of Alaska Anchorage to do this evaluation, which began in September 2007.