• Basic Issues in Economic Comparisons of Commercial and Sport Fisheries: A Study of Allocation Alternatives for Alaska Kenai River Sockeye Salmon Fisheries

      Mills, Mike; Hartman, Jeff; Knapp, Gunnar (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      Allocation between commercial and sport fisheries is becoming an increasingly difficult and divisive issue in fisheries management. As conflicts over allocation have increased, so has interest in the relative economic contributions of commercial and sport fisheries. This paper describes eight basic issues in economic comparisons of commercial and sport fisheries. These basic issues should be considered in evaluating or planning any economic comparison of commercial and sport fisheries--from a back-of-the-envelope comparison to a formal study. We illustrate these issues by describing how they arose in an economic comparison o f commercial and sport fisheries for Alaska's Kenai River sockeye salmon. Prepared for presentation at a session on "The Role of Economics in Fisheries Management" at the 1998 Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society Hartford, Connecticut August 24, 1998
    • 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.
    • Benefit-Cost Assessment of the Port Mackenzie Rail Extension

      Colt, Steve; Szymoniak, Nick (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-06-20)
      Costs We assume that the Port MacKenzie rail extension would cost $275 million to construct.1 This is a conservative estimate based on a range of between $200 million and $300 million for different route options. The time horizon runs 50 years from 2012 to 2061. O&M costs are assumed to be $1.5 million per year, with a net present value of $26.1 million. The net present value of all costs using a 5% real discount rate2 and a base year of 2010 is $301.1 million. Benefits The rail extension would provide two distinct types of benefits: 1) It reduces the cost of rail transportation; and 2) It is likely to stimulate significant new mines and other major development. These benefits come from a diverse mix of potential projects – thus a strength of the rail extension is that its economic viability does not depend on any one project. Reduced transportation costs Relative to Seward, using the extension would save 140.7 miles per one-way trip.3 Assuming an average cost savings of 6 cents per ton-mile and a 5.0% real discount rate, we estimate that using the extension would save $572 million in avoided rail costs, avoided port costs, and avoided railroad and road upgrades. These savings are shown in the table and figure on the following page. In addition to the above, we estimate that about 22,000 train crossings of Pittman Road and other roads would be avoided by the extension, saving motorists up to 64,000 vehicle-hours of travel time delay between now and 2061.
    • Benefits and Costs to Rural Alaska Households from a Carbon Fee and Dividend Program

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-06-22)
      This paper analyzes the benefits and costs of a carbon fee‐and‐dividend (CFD) policy to individual rural Alaska households. The three study area regions are the Bethel Census Area, the Wade Hampton Census Area, and the Northwest Arctic Borough. These three regions have the state’s highest fuel prices and very cold climates. The CFD policy consists of two elements.  The first is a fee of $15 per metric ton of CO2 beginning in 2016 and increasing by $10 per ton in each subsequent year. The second is the complete return of all fees to households in the form of dividends, which are estimated to equal $300 for each adult plus $150 for each child (up to two). The annual dividends would increase in future years commensurate with the total amount of fees.
    • Benefits and Costs to Rural Alaska Households from a Carbon Fee and Dividend Program - Final Report

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-08-01)
      This paper analyzes the benefits and costs of a carbon fee‐and‐dividend (CFD) policy to individual rural Alaska households. The three study area regions are the Bethel Census Area, the Kusilvak Census Area, and the Northwest Arctic Borough. These three regions have the state’s highest fuel prices and very cold climates. The CFD policy consists of two elements.  The first is a fee of $15 per metric ton of CO2 beginning in 2016 and increasing by $10 per ton in each subsequent year. The second is the complete return of all fees to households in the form of dividends, which are estimated to equal $300 for each adult plus $150 for each child (up to two). The annual dividends would increase in future years commensurate with the nationwide total amount of fees. Baseline conditions.  The study area has a total population of about 32,000 people, many of whom live in large households with low cash income. Fuel prices averaged $6.62 per gallon in January 2015.
    • Benefits of Alaska Native Corporations and the SBA 8(a) Program to Alaska Natives and Alaska

      Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage; Haley, Sharman; Fay, Ginny; Ainsworth, Joel; Angvik, Jane; Hill, Alexandra; Martin, Stephanie (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-07-07)
      Senator Begich’s office asked ISER for assistance assembling information to document the social and economic status of Alaska Natives and the benefits of the 8(a) program. His purpose is to brief Missouri Senator McCaskill and her committee which is reviewing the status of ANC contracts awarded under SBA’s 8(a) program. This review was triggered by a 2006 GAO report recommending increased SBA oversight to 8(a) contracting activity. Highlights of the GAO report are provided in Tab A.1; a letter dated May 15, 2009, from Senators Begich and Murkowski to Sentaor McCaskill, outlining their concerns is provided in Tab A.2. As the Congressional Research Service report (Tab A.3) explains, the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program targeting socially and economically disadvantaged individuals was operating under executive authority from about 1970, and under statutory authority starting in 1978. A series of amendments from 1986 to 1992 recognized Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) as socially and economically disadvantaged for purposes of program eligibility, exempted them from limitations on the number of qualifying subsidiaries, from some restrictions on size and minimum time in business, and from the ceiling on amounts for sole-source contracts. Between 1988 and 2005, the number of 8(a) qualified ANC subsidiaries grew from one to 154 subsidiaries owned by 49 ANCs. The dollar amount of 8(a) contracts to ANCs grew from $265 million in FY 2000 to $1.1 billion in 2004, approximately 80 percent of which was in sole-source contracts. (GAO Highlights, Tab A.1) The remainder of this briefing book is divided in three sections. Section 2 addresses changes in the social and economic status of Alaska Natives from 1970--the year before the enactment of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the subsequent creation of the ANCs--to the present. ISER’s report on the “Status of Alaska Natives 2004” (Tab B.1) finds that despite really significant improvements in social and economic conditions among Alaska Natives, they still lag well behind other Alaskans in employment, income, education, health status and living conditions. A collection of more recent analyses updates the social and economic indicators to 2008. There were many concurrent changes throughout this dynamic period of Alaska’s history and we cannot attribute all the improvements to the ANCs, though it is clear that they play an important catalyst role. In the final part of section 2 we attempt to provide some historical context for understanding the role ANCs have played in improving the well-being of Alaska Natives. Section C. documents the growth in ANCs and their contributions to Alaska Native employment, income, social and cultural programs and wellbeing, and their major contributions to the Alaska economy and society overall. Section D. Looks specifically at the 8(a) program. Although there are a handful of 8(a) firms with large federal contracts, the majority are small, village-based corporations engaged in enterprise development in very challenging conditions. A collection of six case studies illustrate the barriers to business development these small firms face and the critical leverage that 8(a) contracting offers them.
    • Benefits of the Cook Inlet Ferry to the Municipality of Anchorage

      Szymoniak, Nick; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-06-30)
      The purpose of this study is to examine the economic benefits of the Cook Inlet Ferry to the Municipality of Anchorage. The Cook Inlet Ferry is currently being built at the Ketchikan, Alaska shipyard. The U.S. Navy has financed construction of the ferry as a prototype military landing craft for northern, ice-filled waters. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough paid for Ferry engineering, design, and outfitting with federal transit monies. Following short-term Navy testing of the craft, it will be transferred to the Borough to provide ferry service in Cook Inlet. The Borough will provide operating and maintenance information to the Navy on an ongoing basis. The Borough will operate the ferry, which will provide regular service between Anchorage and Port MacKenzie as well as service to other points on Cook Inlet. The Ferry is expected to be operational by 2010.
    • Benefits of the Southcentral Rail Extension to the Municipality of Anchorage

      Colt, Steve; Szymoniak, Nick (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010-01)
      The proposed Southcentral rail extension to Port MacKenzie is likely to generate significant economic benefits for the residents of Anchorage. These benefits are due to a combination of reduced transport costs, the ability to ship bulk commodities over shorter distances, and economical access to industrial land. We considered and analyzed these benefits under a set of assumptions about job creation, transportation costs, land use considerations and future mineral development. Our major findings include the following: Jobs • Port MacKenzie. The rail extension will generate new jobs for Anchorage workers by stimulating industrial development and jobs at Port MacKenzie. Under a base case scenario with a rail extension and ferry service, Anchorage residents would gain 730 average annual jobs and $50 million of annual income during the period of 2013 -2017 from industrial development at Port MacKenzie. Hundreds more jobs would be gained after 2017. The rail extension will play an important role in this process. For example, it will allow coal exports through the port as early as 2013, generating more than 100 jobs. • New Mines. Major new mines shipping concentrate via the rail extension would generate thousands of new jobs, and a significant fraction of these jobs would be held by Anchorage residents. Our detailed analysis of the potential employment from five specific mining projects indicates that more than 2,000 average annual jobs would be created in Anchorage or held by Anchorage residents once the mines are fully developed. Most of these jobs would be in mining and in professional sectors that pay good wages. Also, during initial mine development, many of the jobs would be in construction and fabrication. • Rail Construction. The construction of the rail extension would generate up to 3,000 total jobs, and ongoing operations would generate up to 150 total jobs. It is likely that many of these jobs would be held by Anchorage residents. • State Revenues. State mining taxes generated from new mines will boost the Anchorage economy. Estimated tax revenues and royalties would grow steadily, reaching $267 million per year by 2040. A large share of these potential tax revenues, roughly proportional to Anchorage’s share of state population, would likely flow into the Anchorage economy, sustaining hundreds of direct jobs and reducing property tax burdens that would otherwise stifle private sector job creation. Regional Competitiveness • New Economic Opportunities. Port MacKenzie and the rail extension, operating together, are a significant new strategic asset for the entire regional economy. This infrastructure will create expanded opportunities for mineral, timber, and energy resource development, and the export of bulk commodities by rail through Port MacKenzie constitutes a new economic sector for the Southcentral regional economy. As the region’s commercial and financial hub, Anchorage will gain jobs and income from all of this activity. • More Efficient Land Use. The rail extension allows for higher-valued use of land in Anchorage. The rail extension will allow for railroad-dependent industrial development to take place at Port MacKenzie. This development would allow limited existing industrialzoned land throughout Anchorage to be used for other, higher-value uses such as commercial development, while still meeting the regional economy’s need for industrial land. Fiscal Benefits • New State Revenues. As noted above, revenues to the State of Alaska from new resource development would grow steadily, reaching $267 million per year by 2040. These revenues will reduce the need for other taxes, stimulating capital formation and job creation by the private sector. • Higher Local Tax Base. Local governments will also see higher tax revenues from a higher-valued property tax base. The stimulated new development will increase the tax base and reduce the need to raise taxes on homeowners or existing businesses. Other Benefits • Port of Anchorage. The industrial and mineral development stimulated by the rail extension to Port MacKenzie will likely increase both the volume and the value of cargo going through the Port of Anchorage. For example, if large mines are developed, the goods and equipment used by the mines for development and operations will flow through Anchorage. • Rail Shipping Costs. The unit cost of shipping on the Alaska Railroad is likely to fall as fixed costs of roadbed maintenance and administration are spread over a higher volume of shipments.
    • Better Times in Alaska

      Hill, Alexandra; Leask, Linda; Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1990)
      The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) has tracked the economic health of Anchorage households since 1987, when the recession that followed the oil price crash was at its worst. In our most recent survey we also questioned residents of Fairbanks and the Mat-Su Borough. This publication compares conditions in the three survey places in early 1990, and describes trends in Anchorage over the past three years. We asked Alaskans about their jobs, incomes, home equity, plans to move, and expectations for the coming year. We end with a snapshot glance of survey households in 1990. That brief discussion simply provides useful basic information on households in the three survey places at the start of the decade.
    • Big Ticket Spending: Transfers and Labor Costs

      Gorsuch, Lee; Goldsmith, Scott; Hogan, Jay (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1990)
      This paper profiles state transfer (grant and claim) programs and labor costs (including both payroll and benefits), which together account for three of every four dollars the state spends on general operating expenses. This analysis is a complement to previous Fiscal Policy Papers in which we have examined different aspects of state government spending and revenue generation. This paper examines how the two biggest categories of spending affect the state operating budget. We conclude by looking at the implications of our analysis for declining revenues.
    • Blinded by Riches: The Prudhoe Bay Effect

      Cole, Terrence (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2004)
      Alaska has repeatedly been saved by surprise developments or events. Prudhoe Bay oil was by far the largest such development—worth seven times more than all previous Alaska resource value combined. But the enormous value of Prudhoe Bay oil—the “Prudhoe Bay effect”—has blinded Alaskans to the perennial dilemma created by relying on temporary resource revenues. Now, with oil revenues declining, Alaska once again has a budget crisis. But today there’s a crucial difference that can be summed up in two words: Permanent Fund. Figure 1 shows why Prudhoe Bay oil gave Alaska an opportunity unlike any previous development.
    • Cancer Control Continuum Gap Analysis: Inventory of Current Policy and Environmental Strategies

      Frazier, Rosyland; Guettabi, Mouhcine; Cueva, Katie (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2013)
      "Comprehensive cancer control (CCC) is a process through which communities and partner organizations pool resources to reduce the burden of cancer. These combined efforts help to reduce cancer risk, find cancers earlier, improve treatments, and increase the number of people who survive cancer. ”This analysis has explored both current policies that have been enacted in Alaska at the state and federal level, and those that are acknowledged at a national level. The gap analysis is designed to inform the State DHSS as it takes steps to develop a policy agenda for comprehensive cancer control that aims to; reduce the risk of developing cancer, identify cancer earlier, improve cancer treatment, and increase the number of cancer survivors."
    • Capping Property Taxes: What's Likely to Happen?

      Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2000)
      On November 7, Alaskans will vote on whether to cap property taxes at 1 percent of assessed value—which would cost local governments 20 percent of property tax collections in the first year and 40 percent as time passed. Supporters of the tax cap say property taxes are too high, property owners pay an unfair share of local government costs, and government is inefficient. Yet local spending in Anchorage and elsewhere hasn’t changed much in recent years, if you take inflation and population growth into account. And Anchorage’s local government employs fewer workers per resident than almost any U.S. metropolitan area. So what’s going on? Like most fiscal matters in Alaska, it relates to the rise and fall of oil wealth.
    • Capstone Phase I Interim Safety Study, 2000/2001

      Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2002
      The FAA Alaska Region’s Capstone program is a joint initiative with industry to improve aviation safety and efficiency in Alaska, by using new tools and technology to provide infrastructure and services. The first phase of Capstone is in southwest Alaska, primarily in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (Y-K Delta). This technology is most likely to help prevent mid-air collisions and controlled-flight-into- terrain (CFIT) accidents, which make up only a small part of the small-plane accidents in southwest Alaska but are the most likely to cause deaths. Aside from helping prevent accidents, the technology is designed to make it easier for pilots to fly—by making it easier to navigate, by providing more current weather information, and by making instrument landings possible when weather deteriorates. To learn the benefits and limitations of these new tools and technologies, the Capstone program contracted with the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research and the Aviation Technology Division to evaluate aviation safety changes in the Capstone area. This Capstone Interim Safety Report describes those changes through the end of 2001.
    • 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?
    • Challenges and Strategies for the Alaska Salmon Industry

      Knapp, Gunnar (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2001)
      Alaska salmon industry is facing many different challenges. The problem is not just competition from farmed salmon. Other challenges include variable and uncertain salmon runs, overproduction for traditional canned salmon markets, changes in consumer demand, and the current world economic slowdown - to name just a few.... Experience - from Alaska and elsewhere - shows that it is important to be very careful in establishing rights-based management systems....The issues are complex.
    • Challenges in Restructuring Alaska's Salmon Fisheries

      Ulmer, Fran; Knapp, Gunnar (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2004)
      Over the past fifteen years, Alaska’s salmon industry has experienced dramatic losses in income, market share, permit and boat values, and tax revenues to communities and the state. The economic crisis in the salmon industry—driven by competition from farmed salmon and other factors—has prompted numerous task forces and summits to call for improved quality, new products, better marketing, and other measures to enable Alaska’s salmon industry to compete more effectively in world salmon markets. However, there has been relatively little discussion of restructuring Alaska’s salmon fisheries....In this paper, we argue that public debate and action on restructuring have been limited by several factors: the complexity and controversial nature of restructuring, the absence of leadership on this issue from either the industry or government, and the ambiguity of responsibility and authority within state government for the economic success of Alaska’s fisheries. The Board of Fisheries and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have a clear mandate to conserve Alaska’s salmon and authority to enact regulations necessary to achieve that objective. But that mandate and authority do not extend to the more complex and difficult objective of managing Alaska’s salmon resources for the “maximum benefit” of Alaskans, as the Alaska Constitution requires. Editor’s Note (September 2005): Fran Ulmer and Gunnar Knapp wrote this paper in November 2004. Near the end of the paper, they discuss the Chignik salmon cooperative and the then-pending Alaska Supreme Court decision about whether the Board of Fisheries had the authority to issue an allocation to the co-op. Page 34 says, “if the Supreme Court upholds the decision of the Superior Court [that the Board did have this authority], it will have the effect of extending the extent to which the board has clear authority to restructure fisheries for economic purposes.” Since the paper was written, there have been several court decisions affecting the status of the Chignik fishing cooperative. The fundamental legal issues at stake relate to the board’s authority and the legislature’s intent in the Limited Entry Act. As of fall 2005, the future of the co-op was uncertain, pending a final ruling by the Alaska Supreme Court. This continuing legal battle reinforces a central point of the paper: that absence of clear authority to make changes in fishery management represents an important obstacle to restructuring. The authors have also written a more recent short paper on restructuring, “Changing Alaska’s Salmon Harvesting System: What Are the Challenges?” in Understanding Alaska, Research Summary No. 5, September 2005.
    • Changes in Alaska Pollock Management

      Smith, Terrence; Knapp, Gunnar; Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1993)
      Pollock are the most common groundfish off Alaska, with the 1991 harvest exceeding 2.2 billion pounds - or about 70 percent of the entire groundfish harvest. The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council recently recommended changing the start of the second half of the season from June 1 to August 15, when the fish are heavier and better quality. Before making its recommendations, the council asked iSER to examine potential economic effects of delaying the second half of the pollock season and of establishing exclusive registration in the offshore fisheries of the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska. This summary provides a brief overview of the findings from interviews with fishermen and processors that were used to support an Alaskan economic model aimed at projecting effects of potential changes.
    • Changing Alaska's Oil and Gas Production Taxes: Issues and Consequences

      Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
      The Alaska legislature is currently considering a major change to the state system of taxation for oil and gas. The proposed new tax system would replace a tax on gross wellhead production value of oil and a tax on gross wellhead value of gas with a single tax on net income earned at the wellhead. This article attempts to put the decision in context. It discusses some of the major issues related to oil taxes, summarizes the historical pattern of state petroleum revenues, and considers the consequences of the major features of the current tax proposals.
    • The Changing Economic Status of Alaska Natives, 1970-2007

      Martin, Stephanie; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-07)
      Forty years ago—when the discovery of North Slope oil was about to transform Alaska’s economy— Alaska Natives had among the lowest income, employment, and education levels in the U.S. Today their economic conditions are better, but they still fall considerably below averages among other Alaskans and other Americans. This note first reports how current economic conditions among Alaska Natives compare with U.S. averages, and then looks at changes since 1970 in poverty, employment, income, and education levels among Alaska Natives. We relied mainly on data from federal censuses in 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 and from the annual American Community Survey for 2005 to 2007. We also used the most recent population estimates from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.1