• Data Survey and Sampling Procedures to Quantify Recreation Use of National Forests in Alaska

      Fay, Ginny; Colt, Steve; White, Eric (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2010)
      Estimating visitor numbers and collecting information on visitor attitudes in Alaska national forests is especially challenging because of the dispersed access to the forests by a relatively small number of visitors. The Tongass and Chugach National Forests are each millions of acres with miles of saltwater coastline and numerous lakes that allow almost infinite boat and float plane access points. This study identified a number of methods used by land managers in Alaska and other states to address dispersed recreational access as well as other ongoing data collection processes in Alaska, such as sport fish angler surveys, traveler surveys, and other systematic efforts that generate visitor data. These data may be useful for USDA Forest Service efforts to improve their visitor use monitoring processes.
    • Defining Arctic Community Sustainability

      Braund, Stephen; Kofinas, Gary (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1996)
      The question of defining sustainability is a subject of much discussion in the literature, with much of it centering on debates regarding the definition of the more controversial term "sustainable development." Part of this discourse has examined questions of the erosion of natural and social capital, the evolution and diversity of institutions, and the dilemmas associated with achieving a balance between economic growth and maintenance of environmental quality. Through our initial discussions, we recognized the legacy of failures associated with non-locals defining criteria of sustainability (and community well being) for northern peoples. We, in turn, responded to this problem by applying for supplemental funding from NSF to involve communities in our study. As a part of our grant, we proposed that we work with local community members to define appropriate community sustainability goals. In this summary, we present the results of our work – - a the list of the elements which are considered by locals to reflect the conditions for achieving Arctic community sustainability. In the first stage of the research, we worked with the communities of Arctic Village, Aklavik, Old Crow, and Kaktovik. Our effort to define community sustainability goals was completed through meetings of local organizations (e.g., hunters and trappers committee) and at project-sponsored workshops. We also met one-on-one with formal and informal local leaders to discuss the project and with them entered into discussions about the applications of the term sustainability in a northern community context.
    • Determinants of the Cost of Electricity Service in PCE Eligible Communities

      Foster, Mark; Townsend, Ralph (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-01-20)
      This report is one of two companion reports ISER prepared for the Alaska Energy Authority. The other report, “True Cost of Electricity in Rural Alaska and True Cost of Bulk Fuel in Rural Alaska,” is dated October 26, 2016. That report estimates the full costs of providing electricity in rural Alaska, including the costs of subsidies provided to lower the price consumers pay. This second report assesses how the costs of electric generation in Power Cost Equalization (PCE) communities are or might be affected by three factors that are not related to the differences in electricity generation costs. Those three factors are the organizational structures of utilities, postage stamp rate design, and managerial information available on energy subsidy programs. 1. Organizational Structures of Utilities Electric utilities in PCE communities are organized as cooperatives, are run by local villages and municipalities, or are investor-owned utilities. The scale of these utilities varies widely, and includes regional utilities that manage separate electric grids in multiple communities. A review of those organizational structures indicates that: 1.1. There are significant differences in distribution, customer service, and general and administrative costs (DCG&A) across utilities. These differences are correlated with the utility size and organizational structure, with the smallest utilities having significantly higher DCG&A costs per kWh. 1.2. Small local utilities that have merged with larger regional utilities have benefited from reduced costs and professional management. Incentives to encourage small local utilities to join larger, more efficient regional utilities should be considered. 1.3. The cost of borrowing for large local and regional electric coops remains low compared with that for stand-alone local villages, municipalities, and investor-owned utilities. 1.4. The state government should consider allowing a return on equity as an allowable expense within the PCE cost of service [AS 42.45.110(a)] to enable utilities to build equity, enhance debt coverage and facilitate the expanded use of private capital, and reduce dependency on limited public capital resources. This private capital may take the form of investor capital for investor-owned utilities or member capital for cooperatives. 2. Postage Stamp Rate Designs 2.1. Postage stamp rate designs—a single rate for electricity for some set of customers—can help reduce costs and improve affordability in smaller, remote communities through an implicit cost subsidization from customers in larger communities. 4 2.2. The subsidies in postage stamp rates may decrease incentives for utilities to manage their costs, because higher costs may be subsidized by postage stamp rate-making. 2.3. The increase in cost in subsidy-providing communities risks inefficient bypass by large commercial or government users. This could increase the total cost of electric service and leave the remaining customers with higher rates and diminished affordability. Separating communities into rate groups according to their cost structure may mitigate, but not eliminate, the risk of self-generators bypassing the local electric utility. 3. Efficiency in Governance of Energy Subsidy Systems 3.1. To assess whether the PCE program is achieving its goals, transparent information about the allocation of the subsidies and about the operation of the subsidized utilities is required. The companion report to this one identified some issues about reliability of information generated under the current reporting system. Improvements in the reporting requirements could address these issues. A common issue is inconsistency in accounting for capital that state and federal agencies contribute to utilities. Those capital contributions include both grants or low-interest loans to finance capital projects as well as sources of short-term government financing, such as annual fuel loans, emergency loans, and write-offs of operating loans for troubled utilities. If capital investments for generation were separated from other capital, investments to reduce fuel costs (such as wind power) could be assessed more directly. 3.2. The PCE program is one of several programs that subsidize energy costs in rural Alaska, and an understanding of the interaction among these programs is required. An annual compilation of all state and federal heating and electrical subsidy support systems by community would enable better understanding of both individual program impact and also the collective programmatic impact of the subsidies on energy affordability. 3.3. Information on system reliability, usually measured as outage hours, is required to fully assess utility performance. 3.4. Currently, there is no information on how well the PCE program and other energy subsidy programs in rural Alaska target families and communities that face the greatest energy affordability challenges. Because of limitations on income data in small rural Alaska communities, assessing how well subsidies are targeted may be challenging. However, in light of general information that energy subsidies are often inefficient at poverty reduction, this is an important question. 3.5. The environmental impact of energy subsidies for rural Alaska, including the PCE program, through CO2 emissions and PM 2.5 emissions, has not been assessed.
    • Developing a Public Consensus on Management of Spruce Beetles on the Kenai Peninsula

      Pelz, Robert; Kruse, Jack (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
      Newspapers and, to a lesser extent, television have actively reported on the spruce beetle Infestation. This may account for the unusually strong public consensus of the most serious problem with Kenai Peninsula forests. Over half of all Anchorage residents have read about the infestation, and public exposure to written accounts Is even higher among Kenai residents. The other major reason why the vast majority of southcentral residents point to the spruce beetle infestation as a major problem Is because over half of them (57 percent) have noticed dead and dying trees as they drive peninsula highways. This translates to 50,000 households who have observed dead trees (see Figure 11). Some 38,000 households have associated these dead trees with the spruce beetle infestation. During our Interviews with government and environmental group representatives we sought to Identify the ways In which dead or dying trees, the direct result of the spruce bark beetle, In turn affect the lives of South-central residents. We then tested out these Ideas In survey pretests, ultimately constructing a sequence of structured questions that we asked of every survey respondent. Our findings indicate that opinions are clearly mixed. Virtually equal percentages of each population group support leaving the areas as is or cutting, burning, and replanting.
    • Development in Remote Regions: What Do We Know?

      Morehouse, Thomas; Huskey, Lee (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
      This article assesses a recent body of research on economic development and socio-political change in northern and other remote regions of developed, western nations. The regions include northern Canada, Alaska, northern Scandinavia, Australia's Northern Territory, and Micronesia. Research topics covered are theoretical perspectives, resource development, Native claims, and village economies. "Remote regions" are physically, economically, and politically distant from centers of wealth and power; they are culturally or ethnically diverse and sparsely settled; and they exhibit extreme limits on their autonomy, self-sufficiency, and welfare. "Development" of these regions is defined as the overcoming of internal and external obstacles to change in conditions associated with their remoteness. The authors ask whether the research has increased our understanding of the nature of these regions and of their development problems. Their answer is generally affirmative, but they also identify specific research gaps, problems, and needs. The latter include needs for more explicit theorizing, comparative and historical approaches, and research on resource ownership, Native claims outcomes, village subsistence, and population migration.
    • Digital Diversity: Broadband and Indigenous Populations in Alaska

      Hudson, Heather E. (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-05)
      Alaska Natives comprise several cultural and linguistic groups including Inupiat, Yupik, Athabascan, Aleut, Tlingit and Haida, organized into some 226 tribes. Approximately two-thirds of the indigenous population live in more than 200 rural villages, most of which are remote settlements with fewer than 200 people and no road access. Since the late 1970’s, all communities with at least 25 permanent residents have had telephone service, but broadband connectivity remains limited. The major mechanism for extending Internet access to rural Alaska has been federal universal service funds, specifically the E-rate program that subsidizes Internet access for schools and libraries, and the Rural Health program that subsidizes connectivity for rural health clinics and hospitals. Under the federal Stimulus program, Alaska has also recently received funding for infrastructure to extend broadband in southwest Alaska, for improved connectivity for rural libraries, and for training and support for rural public computer centers. These initiatives primarily support improvements in Internet and broadband availability for rural Alaska. However, this paper proposes a more rigorous framework including not only availability, but more broadly access, and also adoption, and examines how these concepts apply to Alaska natives. The paper also examines other elements of digital diversity, including innovation in applications and content, ICT entrepreneurship, and participation in telecommunications policy-making.
    • Dividing Alaska, 1867-2000: Changing Land Ownership and Management

      Hull, Teresa; Leask, Linda (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2000)
      When the U.S. bought Alaska in 1867, it acquired an area twice the size of the 13 original American colonies and three quarters as big as the Louisiana Purchase. This paper looks broadly at changing land ownership and management in Alaska from 1867 through today. For almost a century, the federal government gave up only a sliver of Alaska’s 375 million acres, mostly through homesteading and other land programs. But when Alaska became a state in 1959, Congress gave the new state rights to about 104 million acres. Then, in 1971, Congress settled Alaska Native land claims with a land grant of 44 million acres and payment of $1 billion. The last major division of Alaska lands came in 1980, when Congress added 104 million acres to national parks, wildlife refuges, and other conservation units.
    • A Doctoral Program in Leadership and Policy Studies: Is It Feasible?

      Killorin, Mary (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2002)
      In response to requests from the Alaskan community, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) agreed to explore the possibility of developing a doctoral program in leadership and policy studies. This program would be developed in collaboration with the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). The goal of the program would be to prepare Alaska leaders in the fields of education, health and human services, government, and business. The report is organized around the six main questions that respondents answered. Each question has a summary of responses indicated by bulleted themes followed by supporting quotations.
    • The DOD Economic Analysis of Eielson Realignment Is Seriously Flawed

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
      The DOD analysis of the economic impact on Fairbanks of the realignment of Eielson air base concludes that the net loss of 2,940 military and civilian jobs at Eielson would result in the loss of 1,770 additional jobs in the Fairbanks MSA (Fairbanks North Star Borough). This would represent a loss of 8.6% of all jobs, based on an estimate of 54,469 total jobs in the Borough. The loss of 8.6% of all jobs represents the 4th largest hit as a percentage among all 234 regions that would by effected by implementation of the BRAC recommendations. Netting out those bases recommended for closure, and thus available for redevelopment, the negative economic impact on Fairbanks would be exceeded in only one other region (Clovis, New Mexico).
    • Does the YLS/CMI help to predict recidivism?

      Carns, Teresa W.; Martin, Stephanie (Alaska Judicial Council, 2012-08)
      In June, 2010, the Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice (Division) invited the Alaska Judicial Council and the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at University of Alaska Anchorage to assist “in understanding how scores on the Division’s assessment instrument for juveniles, the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI), reflect the actual recidivism of juveniles who’ve received services from the Division.” Other states had shown that YLS/CMI scores could be helpful in predicting recidivism among the youths they served, but Alaska had not yet done the comparable research. ISER and the Council agreed that the questions proposed would provide valuable information and help the Division to better address the reasons for youth recidivism.
    • Dollars of Difference: What Affects Fuel Prices Around Alaska?

      Wilson, Meghan; Saylor, Ben; Szymoniak, Nick; Colt, Steve; Fay, Ginny (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-05)
      The spike in oil prices has hit rural Alaskans especially hard, because they rely mostly on fuel oil for heating. But some rural residents are paying much more than others—at times 100% more. The Alaska Energy Authority asked ISER to analyze what determines the prices rural households pay for fuel oil and gasoline. The agency hopes this research can help identify possible ways of holding down fuel prices in the future. In this summary we report only fuel oil prices, but the full report (see back page) also includes gasoline prices. We studied 10 communities that reflect, as much as possible, the forces driving fuel prices. We collected information in November 2007, and fuel prices have gone up a lot since then. Crude oil sold for $120 a barrel in mid-May, up from about $80 in fall 2007.
    • Dual language Education And Student Achievement

      Bibler, Andrew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-02-01)
      Dual language classrooms provide English language learners (ELLs) an opportunity to receive instruction in their native language in hopes of easing the transition to English fluency, and provide an opportunity for native English speakers to receive instruction in a second language. For ELLs, learning in their native language could improve achievement by helping them build a stronger foundation in core subjects, but could also have a negative impact through delayed growth in English skills. For native English speakers, communication barriers could hurt achievement, but many argue that mental stimulation from speaking two languages leads to greater cognitive growth. Empirical testing for the e↵ect of dual language education on academic achievement is necessary to inform the debate on the practice of dual language education, and to inform policymakers and practitioners on practices for assimilating students with non-English dominant languages. I examine dual language education and student achievement using school choice lotteries from Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, finding local average treatment e↵ects on math and reading exam scores of more than 0.06 standard deviations per year for participants who were eligible for English second language (ESL) services or designated limited English proficient (LEP). There is also some evidence that attending a dual language school led to a lower probability of having limited English proficient status starting in third grade. For applicants who were not eligible for ESL services or designated as LEP, attending a dual language school resulted in higher end of grade exam scores of about 0.09 and 0.05 standard deviations per year in math and reading, respectively.
    • Ecology, Economics, Politics, and the Alaska Forest Industry

      Knapp, Gunnar (U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station., 2000)
      Ecology, economics, and politics together define and constrain opportunities for the Alaska forest products industry. Ecology limits potential timber harvest paths and non-timber benefits over time. One kind of ecological limit is the tradeoff between potential harvest levels over time. Another kind of ecological limit is the tradeoff between timber harvests and non-timber forest benefits such as fish and wildlife and scenery. The tradeoffs we make between ecologically possible levels of timber harvests over time and ecologically possible combinations of timber and non-timber benefits are political decisions. Ecology sets broad limits to possible Alaska timber harvest paths over time. But within these broad ecological limits are narrower political limits that reflect the choices we are willing to make about tradeoffs over time and tradeoffs between timber and non-timber benefits.
    • Economic Analysis of an Integrated Wind-Hydrogen Energy System for a Small Alaska Community

      Colt, Steve; Gilbert, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-12)
      Wind-hydrogen systems provide one way to store intermittent wind energy as hydrogen. We explored the hypothesis that an integrated wind-hydrogen system supplying electricity, heat, and transportation fuel could serve the needs of an isolated (off-grid) Alaska community at a lower cost than a collection of separate systems. Analysis indicates that: 1) Combustible Hydrogen could be produced with current technologies for direct use as a transportation fuel for about $15/gallon-equivalent; 2) The capital cost of the wind energy rather than the capital cost of electrolyzers dominates this high cost; and 3) There do not appear to be diseconomies of small scale for current electrolyzers serving a a village of 400 people.
    • Economic Analysis of Future Offshore Oil & Gas Development: Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, and North Aleutian Basin

      Goldsmith, Scott; Cuyno, Leah; Kovacs, Kent; Mundy, Nancy; Bunger, Anne; McCoy, Terri (Northern Economics (in association with ISER), 2009)
      This study describes and quantifies the potential economic benefits to the State of Alaska and local communities from developing oil and gas resources in Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas. The findings of this study are not predictions of the future for Alaska, but rather they describe a reasonable approach that one might expect for OCS development. The findings also provide a basis for thinking about potential actions that state and local governments, industry, and other stakeholders might undertake to deal most effectively with the effects that do occur. While there have been other studies in the past that looked at the potential effects of OCS development, this study is based on more recent information and represents the current state of knowledge in OCS resource estimates, exploration, development, and production activities; recent technology improvements; and state and local government fiscal systems. The economic benefits described here are based on assumptions about when and how OCS development, as well as other economic development in the state, might occur during the next 50 years. The magnitude of the economic effects of OCS development are contingent on assumptions about petroleum prices, volumes of OCS resources that might be economically recoverable, the levels of investment that the petroleum industry would be willing to spend to develop in the OCS areas, and the fiscal regime or tax structure that would be in effect as OCS oil and gas development occurs.
    • Economic Analysis of the Potential Sale of the Thorne Bay Electric Utility

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1993)
      This report was prepared as an analysis of different options for the potential sale of the Thorne Bay Electric Utility. It addresses costs of service, rates, fiscal impact on the City of Thorne Bay, financial effect on the residents, future costs and a number of other important factors for evaluating the economic implications of such a sale.
    • Economic and Demographic Projections for Alaska and Greater Anchorage 2010–2035

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-12)
      This report describes three economic, demographic, and fiscal projections for the state of Alaska and the Greater Anchorage region consisting of the Municipality of Anchorage and the Matanuska- Susitna Borough. These projections have been prepared by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) of the University of Alaska Anchorage as part of the development of the Seward Highway to Glenn Highway Connection (H2H) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Department of Transportation and Facilities. These projections will be used to estimate future travel demand within the study area. The assumptions driving the three projections were developed by ISER in consultation with the study team and planners and economic development staff from Anchorage and Mat-Su. The BASE CASE projection is driven by a set of assumptions that together represent a likely future scenario for employment and population growth. The HIGH and LOW CASES are each driven by a set of assumptions that together represent the range of possible outcomes around the likely BASE CASE. The assumptions are based upon the best information available at the time that they were developed—the fall of 2009. The economic and demographic projections, contingent upon the assumptions for the different cases, were prepared using the MAP economic and demographic model developed by ISER. The main body of this report is a description of each of the three projection cases. This is followed by short sections comparing the three projections to one another and to an earlier projection prepared by ISER for KABATA (Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority) in 2005. There is also a brief description of the structure of the MAP model. A number of appendices contain detailed tables of model output as well as a detailed description of the assumptions for each of the three cases.
    • Economic and Social Impacts of BSAI Crab Rationalization on the Communities of King Cove, Akutan, and False Pass

      Lowe, Marie; Knapp, Gunnar (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
      This report examines economic and social impacts of the first two years of crab rationalization on the Aleutians East Borough communities of King Cove, Akutan and False Pass. The study was conducted by the University of Alaska Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) for the Aleutians East Borough (AEB) and the City of King Cove. Crab rationalization resulted in dramatic consolidation in Bering Sea crab fisheries. During the first two years of rationalization, consolidation reduced the number of boats participating in the Bristol Bay Red King Crab fishery and the Bering Sea Snow Crab fishery by about two-thirds. This consolidation in the fleet, and the corresponding reduction in crab fishing jobs and crab boat spending, was a major immediate short-term factor driving economic impacts on the three study communities to date. Longer-term concerns of community residents extend beyond these immediate economic impacts to many other issues. The report is based on a literature review, interviews conducted during visits to each study community, analysis of federal and state and local fisheries data and community data, and a household survey conducted by the City of King Cove. The primary focus of the study is on King Cove, because it is a larger community which has experienced greater effects of crab rationalization.
    • Economic and Social Impacts of the Copper River Highway - Volumes 1-4

      Knapp, Gunnar (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1993-06-01)
    • Economic Assessment of Bristol Bay Area National Wildlife Refuges: Alaska Peninsula, Becharof, Izembek, Togiak

      Hill, Alexandra; Goldsmith, Scott; Hull, Teresa (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      This report presents an economic assessment of the National Wildlife Refuges in Southwestern Alaska. Those refuges cover millions of acres on the Alaska Peninsula and along the north coast of Bristol Bay (Map S-1). They include large wilderness areas; spawning grounds for the rich Bristol Bay commercial salmon runs; staging areas for huge flocks of migrating waterfowl; and some of the world’s best brown bear habitat. Several thousand Alaska Natives and other rural Alaskans also live in communities on or near the refuges and rely on fish, wildlife, and plants from the refuges. The Institute of Social and Economic Research contracted with Industrial Economics, Incorporated to perform this economic assessment for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It includes measures of both economic significance and net economic value. Both are useful for policy analysis, but they measure economic activity differently. Economic significance analysis measures the role of the refuges in the regional and statewide economies. Net economic value analysis measures the overall value of the refuges to Alaska, but also to the U.S. as a whole.