• Lime Village Economic Profile

      Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1992)
      Lime Village is a small Athapaskan community on the Stony River (a tributary of the Kuskokwim). It lies within sight of the Alaska Range, about 180 miles west of Anchorage and 120 miles south of McGrath. The nearest other villages are Stony River, Red Devil, and Sleetmute, between 60 and 100 miles away by river. The 1990 census counted 42 residents in 14 households. I spoke with 11 households, identified two which were out of town temporarily and one indefinitely, for a 1992 total of 13 or 14 households, and 13 occupied housing units. This profile provides information on a range of economic indicators based on the interviews undetaken by the author.
    • Local Caribou Availability

      Kofinas, Gary; Braund, Stephen (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      The purpose of this document is to report findings of the NSF Arctic Community Sustainability Project’s research on community caribou availability to university-based investigators for development of the project's SYNTHESIS MODEL. Field work for the project was completed in Old Crow, Fort McPherson, Aklavik, and Arctic Village from April 1997 to April 1998 by Gary Kofinas (all communities) and Stephen R. Braund and Associates (Aklavik and Arctic Village) in collaboration with local research associates. The report provides a brief literature review on caribou movements and distribution patterns of the Porcupine caribou herd, local knowledge propositions about caribou movements and hunting patterns, mapped range-wide zones, and values for use in the modeling effort. The findings presented in this report are focused one part of that study -- the conditions affecting community caribou availability.
    • Local Jobs and Income from Mineral Exploration

      Loeffler, Bob; Schmidt, Jennifer (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-01-01)
      Institute of Social and Economic Research • University of Alaska Anchorage • January 2017 From 2002 until 2013, the Pebble Mineral Exploration Project explored a big deposit of mostly copper, but also gold and molybdenum, in the Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska, about 17 miles northwest of Illiamna (Figure S-2). That exploration stopped in 2013, when a major project partner withdrew. But before that, developers spent millions of dollars, and in the last years of exploration annually employed more than a hundred residents of Bristol Bay communities. This paper describes jobs and income the residents of 18 communities—in the Lake and Peninsula Borough, the Bristol Bay Borough, and the Dillingham census area—got from 2009 through 2012, the last full year of exploration. Most residents of these communities are Alaska Native, and the communities are small—most with populations considerably smaller than 500— except for Dillingham, where nearly 2,500 people live (Table S-1). How local communities can capture more economic benefits from rural resource projects is an important question in Alaska, and the Pebble exploration project offers a useful case study. But we want to emphasize that we’re neither advocating nor opposing a potential mine at the Pebble site. The proposed mine has been enormously controversial in Alaska and elsewhere, because of its proximity to the world-class Bristol Bay salmon fisheries. We looked only at local jobs and income exploration created, to shed light on the potential for resource development projects to help rural economies. Our analysis is based on data from Pebble Limited Partnership’s exploration-site database, augmented with information from contractors. What did we find? • About 43% of those who worked at the Pebble exploration site anytime from 2009 through 2012 were from the Bristol Bay area. That amounted to about 300 local residents who worked at the site some time during the study period (and may have held more than one job over the years). Another 37% of workers were from elsewhere in Alaska, and the remaining 20% were mainly from other states or Canada (Figure S-1). • The number of workers from Bristol Bay increased over the study period, and so did employee retention. In 2009, 111 local residents worked at the Pebble site, increasing to 157 by 2012. More employees also stayed on the job from one year to the next, with retention at just over half from 2009 to 2010, climbing to two-thirds from 2011 to 2012 (Figure S-3). • Bristol Bay residents worked at 56 kinds of jobs in the study period, almost all seasonal. The most common jobs they held were drill helper, bear guard, and skilled laborer. The average hourly pay was about $19, and most workers earned on average about $15,000 a year from those mostly seasonal jobs. About 65% of workers were men and 35% women (Figure S-3). 2 • Communities closest to the exploration site got several times more jobs and income than those farther away. We grouped the study communities into three regions, based on their proximity to Pebble. Communities closest to the site are mostly around Lake Iliamna, and on average per year about 100 workers came from what we call the Lakes region. About 25 a year were from the 3 Intermediate region and 8 from the Distant. On average, workers from the Lakes region collected a total of nearly $1.5 million a year, compared with $499,000 for those from the Intermediate region and $100,000 among those from the Distant region, where communities are more than 100 miles from the Pebble site (Figures S-2 and S-4). • In the Lakes region, where communities are very small (Table S-1) exploration employment was a large share of total employment: approximately 14% of the total workforce from Lakes communities worked at the site during the study period. The regions farther from the exploration site, which have larger populations, saw much smaller employment effects: 3% of the total workforce from the Intermediate region and barely above 0% from the Distant region. • Even within individual regions, community employment at Pebble varied significantly. Iliamna, where exploration operations were based, and Newhalen (with road access to Iliamna) had the most employees—an annual average of 40 in Newhalen and about 25 in Iliamna, followed by Nondalton with about 16. Outside the Lakes region, the only community with more than an average of 10 workers a year was Koliganek. But even within the Lakes region, not all communities had a significant number of workers—Port Alsworth and Pedro Bay had fewer workers than some places in the Distant region (Figure S-5). 4 • To get a sense of what Pebble income meant to the region, we compared it with income from two important sources: commercial fishing and Permanent Fund dividends. The exploration project brought more income into the Lakes region from 2009 through 2012 than did either commercial salmon fishing or Permanent Fund dividends. But the Intermediate and Distant regions have more people, rely more on salmon fishing, and had fewer residents working at Pebble—so Pebble pay in those regions was a much smaller source of income. As Figure S-6 shows, income from Pebble in the Lakes region from 2009-2012 was several times more than from salmon fishing and two-thirds more than from Permanent Fund dividends. By contrast, in the Intermediate region Pebble pay was significantly less that from either commercial fishing or PFDs—and in the Distant region it was an insignificant amount compared with the other sources. What can the Pebble case study tell us about the potential for rural development projects to benefit local economies? • Residents of Bristol Bay communities and other Alaska places were able to capture a big share of exploration jobs and income. During the study period, 43% of workers were from Bristol Bay communities and another 37% were from elsewhere in Alaska. A number of things contributed to this high local-hire rate, including Pebble’s local hire coordinator; its work with the state government to get training programs and with non-profits to help qualify local residents for jobs; and its contracts with local Native village corporations and other businesses. • Jobs and income going to Bristol Bay residents increased significantly between 2009 and 2012. Partly that’s because the developer was spending more for exploration, creating more jobs. But the number of qualified job applicants from the Bristol Bay region also increased over time. Pebble personnel report that by 2010 or 2011, there were more qualified Bristol Bay residents looking for jobs than there were jobs available. • Proximity made a difference: even though most project employees from all communities were housed at project headquarters in Iliamna, residents from the villages closest to the project site got more jobs. From 2009 through 2012, an average of about 100 residents per year from the Lakes region worked at the project site—about 14% of the total workforce from seven small villages. Prospective workers from places farther away may have taken into account how difficult it would be to travel home for time off work
    • Local Knowledge and Science: Observation of Landscape Change in the Nuiqsut Homelands

      Schmidt, Jennifer; Kofinas, Gary (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 12/19/2018)
    • Long-term benefits to Indigenous communities of extractive industry partnerships: Evaluating the Red Dog Mine

      Berman, Matthew; Loeffler, Bob; Schmidt, Jennifer (Resource Policy, 2020-02-21)
      Mining, and oil and gas companies developing resources on land historically occupied and used by Indigenous peoples have faced criticism for offering few benefits to local communities while inflicting environmental damage. The Red Dog Mine – a joint venture between Teck Resources, Inc. and the NANA Regional Corporation – has often been cited as an example for developing extractive industries in a way that does benefit Indigenous communities. The mine is located in an economically impoverished region in Northwest Alaska that has few other wage-earning opportunities for the largely Inupiat population. Although the mine has brought demonstrable financial benefits to the region, questions persist about its long-term benefits to local communities. This paper assesses a suite of long-term benefits of the Red Dog mine, based on findings from unique 14-year panel dataset. The paper focuses on the direct effects of the mine on the individual Indigenous workers of the region. Specifically, the analysis addressed the following set of questions: How does employment at Red Dog affect workers’ mobility and long-run earnings? How long do most local residents hired to work at the mine keep these jobs? What percentage of the mine workers live in the communities in the region, and what percentage of the total payroll do local workers receive? The findings illustrate the strengths and limitations of partnerships between Indigenous organizations and extractive industries, and offer insights relevant to Indigenous communities across the arctic and around the world as they plan development of local resources.
    • Long-Term Effects of Limiting Access to Alaska's Sablefish and Halibut Fisheries

      Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
      The study analyzed potential long-term effects of the Alaska halibut and sablefish individual transferable quota (ITQ) program for the fishing fleet and coastal communities. The analysis focused on changes in the structure of the fleet, changes in fisheries markets, changes in fish processing and transportation, and regional shifts in the pattern of harvesting and processing activities. As a tool for projecting the combined effects of these major changes, two complementary models were developed: a fisheries impact model and a community impact model. Projections from these models for long-term scenarios of fish prices, total allowable catch by management area, and rate of inter-community quota transfers show that some communities could see large changes as a result of the program. The projected gains and losses are sensitive to assumptions about prices processors can pay in each community, suggesting a role for further research on evolving processing and transportation costs.
    • Long-Term Outlook for Salmon Returns to Alaska

      Finney, Bruce; Adkison, Milo (Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 2002)
      With the exception of some western Alaska stocks, Alaska's salmon populations are numerically healthy. However, even fisheries on abundant stocks are suffering economically due to sharp declines in the value of the catch. The abundance of Alaskan salmon stocks has fluctuated greatly, both in modern times and prehistorically. These fluctuations are thought to be caused by multi-decadal changes in environmental conditions over large areas that affect many other species as well as salmon. Forecasts of salmon returns are not very reliable, and the potential for significant improvement in their accuracy is low in the short term. A viable fishing industry must be able to adapt to dramatic, persistent, and unanticipated changes in harvest levels. Nonetheless, Alaska's salmon stocks should continue to produce healthy harvests for the foreseeable future, barring significant damage to their habitat either via local activities or global warming.
    • Longitudinal Study of First-Year Students Rose Urban Rural Exchange Program

      McDiarmid, Williamson, G.; Frazier, Rosyland (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2004)
      The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage annually evaluates components of the Rose Urban Rural Exchange Program, to determine how well the program is achieving its purpose. The program's goal is to build understanding and a statewide sense of community-by bringing urban students to rural Alaska and rural students to urban Alaska, to help them learn about each other's cultures....In 2004, the Institute of Social and Economic (ISER) proposed, for the first time, to evaluate not only how the program did in the current year, but also to evaluate the program's lasting effects by collecting survey and interview data from students who had participated in the first year of the program, 2001....This report describes the background and research design. We will discuss the issue of lasting program efficacy in a later report. This report has four chapters. Following this brief introductory chapter, Chapter 2 describes the scope of the longitudinal evaluation. Chapter 3 provides information about the evaluation design, including development of the data collection instruments. Chapter 4 presents our preliminary findings about some of the data we have collected to this point. The appendixes include the interview protocol, pre- and post-visit questionnaires, and the urban and rural tests of knowledge.
    • Low Cost, Reliable Power: How Does Anchorage Compare?

      Colt, Steve (2005)
      Costs of doing business in Alaska remain generally high, but the low cost and reliability of electric power in Anchorage has been a bright spot on the economic landscape—thanks largely to abundant supplies of natural gas from Cook Inlet and to creation of a unified power grid for the railbelt. This research summary presents data on the changing cost and reliability of electric power from Municipal Light and Power (ML&P)—one of Anchorage’s two electric utilities—from 1960 through 2004. It concludes with a brief discussion of the outlook for the utility, given rising natural gas prices.
    • Management Alternatives for the Guided Sport Fishery for Halibut off Alaska

      Hartley, Marcus; Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
      The domestic fishery for halibut in and off Alaska is managed by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) as provided by the ""Convention Between the United States and Canada for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea" (Convention) signed at Washington March 29, 1979, and the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut Act). The Convention and the Halibut Act authorize the respective North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) established by the Magnuson-Stevens Act to: "develop regulations governing the United States portion of Convention waters, including limited access regulations, applicable to nationals or vessels of the United States, or both which are in addition to and not in conflict with regulation adopted by the Commission. Such regulation shall only be implemented with the approval of the Secretary, shall not discriminate between residents of different States, and shall be consistent with the limited entry criteria set forth in Section 303(b)(6) of the Magnuson Stevens Act. If it becomes necessary to allocate or assign halibut fishing privileges among various United States fishermen, such allocation shall be fair and equitable to all such fishermen, based upon the rights and obligation in existing Federal law, reasonable calculated to promote conservation, and carried in such manner that no particular individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share o f the halibut fishing privileges ... [Halibut Act]." This document assesses the potential economic and social impacts of a proposed catch reporting system and/or some form of limitation on the growth of the halibut charter boat industry (lodges, outfitters, guides, and charter vessels) operating in waters off Alaska's coast.
    • Management of Incidental Catch of Crab, Halibut, Herring, and Salmon in the Groundfish Fisheries of Alaska

      Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
      The project demonstrated a new approach to modeling incidental harvest (bycatch) of the North Pacific groundfish fleet using a spreadsheet-based optimization model. The approach models industry decision as the pursuit of profit-maximization by exploiting a mixed-stock common property fishery under total allowable catch regulation for both target species and incidental harvest. Trial simulations with a small-scale version of the model suggest that the approach realistically portrays the behavior of the fleet and the implication of bycatch management choices. An interactive user interface constructed for the model guides users through the assumptions and options of the model, making them transparent to the user.
    • Managing Alaska’s Petroleum Nest Egg for Maximum Sustainable Yield

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2012-03)
      Web Note #7 (How Much Should Alaska Save? February 2011) suggested we should think of Alaska’s petroleum wealth as an asset from which we should spend only the earnings—thus preserving that wealth for future generations, while at the same time providing a sustainable annual flow of income for current Alaskans. Based on the value of state financial assets and a projection of future petroleum revenues, in early 2011 we estimated total petroleum wealth—the Petroleum Nest Egg—to be $126 billion. That total could generate an annual sustainable flow of income, or Maximum Sustainable Yield, of $5 billion. That year actual state spending from petroleum revenues, along with the Permanent Fund dividend, was $5.5 billion, or $.5 billion more than the sustainable amount. This put a Fiscal Burden on future generations of Alaskans because it reduced the size of the nest egg. The state could have avoided that burden either by increasing non-petroleum revenues $.5 billion, or by reducing spending that much. Doing one or the other would have added $.5 billion of saving to the nest egg and so maintained its value. This Web Note revisits the calculation of the Petroleum Nest Egg, the Maximum Sustainable Yield, and the Fiscal Burden, taking into account both changes in expectations of future revenues and the size of the state budget. The estimated size of the nest egg has increased since last year, to $155 billion, because of higher oil prices and more optimistic production assumptions, so the estimated sustainable yield is up to $6.2 billion a year. But that growth has been more than offset because spending of petroleum revenues has also increased. The FY 2012 state budget exceeds the Maximum Sustainable Yield by $.8 billion, passing a Fiscal Burden of that amount on to the next generation of Alaskans. Looking beyond FY 2012, continued spending growth would have dramatic effects on the Nest Egg and Sustainable Yield. For example, if spending growth of 6% a year were to go on year after year and the growth was funded by petroleum revenues, the currently estimated Nest Egg would shrink at an accelerating rate and the Fiscal Burden would grow at an increasing rate. The Maximum Sustainable Yield for the next generation of Alaskans would drop by half in 20 years. Looked at another way, sustaining spending growth of 6% a year would require a Nest Egg of $350 billion—more than twice the current estimate. To put that amount in perspective, $350 billion is more than half the current size of the Norwegian government’s pension fund.
    • Managing Extractive Resource Wealth for Sustainability: Alaska in the Time of Falling Oil Production

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-06)
      Cash economies in many parts of the Arctic North have long been dominated by resource extraction industries such as petroleum and metal mining. These developments are often short lived, generating cycles of economic booms followed by busts. And the wealth created by these activities tends to flow South, as profits to large firms and wages to temporary residents. But in Alaska the Permanent Fund (and a number of smaller financial accounts), has captured a significant share of the wealth generated by the production of petroleum over the last 30 years. Alaska residents now have the opportunity to use this wealth (currently estimated at $45 billion in financial assets and $81 billion in the state share of oil still in the ground) to build a strong economy, not only for the current generation but for future generations of Alaskans as well. This will be a unique challenge, balancing the needs of current and future generations, the preferences of urban and rural residents, permanent and temporary citizens, and others. This paper will examine the challenges facing Alaska as it begins the task of wealth management in an era of declining petroleum production. This should provide lessons for other regions impacted by cycles of resource extractive industries.
    • Managing Extractive Resource Wealth for Sustainability: Lessons from Alaska Seen Through the Lens of Maximum Sustainable Yield

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2012-02)
      Alaska has enjoyed a generation of unprecedented economic growth and prosperity driven by crude oil production primarily from one giant field, Prudhoe Bay, on the North Slope. Through a number of financial savings accounts, including the Alaska Permanent Fund, the Statutory Budget Reserve, and the Constitutional Budget Reserve, the state has successfully converted a share of petroleum wealth into $55 billion in financial assets. It has been less successful in diversifying the economic base away from dominance by oil and gas production. Now oil production has fallen to less than 1/3 of its peak and this decline is projected to continue—reducing public revenues and private economic activity. This paper will explore whether the state of Alaska has the resources to be able to transition successfully to a Post-Prudhoe Bay economy, how that transition could take place, and what impediments might prevent a successful transition. This analysis will be of interest to other natural resource dependent economies that are trying to manage the cycles that resource extraction generate.
    • Managing Invasive Species: How Much Do We Spend?

      Schwörer, Tobias; Federer, Rebekka; Ferren, Howard; Alaska SeaLife Center (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2012-07)
      Invasive species: they’re along roadways and up mountain trails; they’re in lakes and along the coast; chances are they’re in your yard. You might not recognize them for what they are—plants or animals not native to Alaska, brought here accidentally or intentionally, crowding out local species. This problem is in the early stages here, compared with what has happened in other parts of the country. But a number of invasive species are already here, and scientists think more are on the way. These species can damage ecosystems and economies—so it’s important to understand their potential economic and other effects now, when it’s more feasible to remove or contain them. Here we summarize our analysis of what public and private groups spent to manage invasive species in Alaska from 2007 through 2011. This publication is a joint product of ISER and the Alaska SeaLife Center, and it provides the first look at economic effects of invasive species here. Our findings are based on a broad survey of agencies and organizations that deal with invasive species.1 The idea for the research came out of a working group formed to help minimize the effects of invasive species in Alaska.2 Several federal and state agencies and organizations funded the work (see back page).
    • Marginal Oil Field Development: The Economic Impact

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1995)
      The purpose of this study is to provide a framework for analysis of the economic effect of new, small marginal oil fields which may be typical of new petroleum industry activity in Alaska. The analysis is generic and hopefully will lead to more detailed and specific studies where appropriate. The study examines a hypothetical marginal oil field on the North Slope with anticipated recoverable reserves of 100 million barrels of oil. This document was developed for presentation to the State of Alaska Oil and Gas Policy Council.
    • The Mat-Su Borough in 2040: What Would Residents Like to See?

      Schwörer, Tobias (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-04)
      Many residents of the Mat-Su Borough were attracted to the area by its rural character: low-density population, salmon streams, opportunities for recreation and hunting in undeveloped areas, and food produced by local farmers. With rapid population growth, these characteristics have been changing, and they will likely continue to change without policies to maintain or restore them. But residents can influence such change, by letting policymakers know what they value. What do Mat-Su residents want their area to look like in 2040? What value do they place on rural character and recreation opportunities? What would they be willing to pay to maintain or restore those characteristics? These are important questions for people in the borough, which borders Anchorage on the north. It has for decades been the fastest-growing area in Alaska, with a current population five times what it was in 1980.
    • Maximum Sustainable Yield: FY 2014 Update

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2013-01)
      In fiscal year 2014, Alaska’s state government can afford to spend about $5.5 billion. That’s an estimate of the level of Unrestricted General Fund spending the state can sustain over the long run, based on the current petroleum nest egg of about $149 billion—a combination of state financial assets (the Permanent Fund and cash reserves) and the value of petroleum still in the ground. The size of that nest egg fluctuates, depending on the state’s forecast of petroleum revenues, earnings on investments, and other factors. This Web Note presents the latest in a series of estimates of the maximum amount the state can spend and still stay on a sustainable budget path.
    • Maximum Sustainable Yield: FY 2015 Update

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-01)
      This is the third update of a series we began in 2012, estimating how much Alaska’s state government can afford to spend, without risking sudden big budget deficits and economic hardships for Alaskans in the near future. Those problems are looming because oil revenues currently pay almost all the bills for public services—and oil production has been dropping since the late 1980s. But Alaska can extend the benefits from oil, by adding to the Permanent Fund and other financial accounts—so the earnings from financial accounts can increasingly take the place of petroleum revenues. Those revenues are expected to keep dropping, even with revenues from new oil sources and from a potential gas pipeline.
    • Maximum Sustainable Yield: FY 2016 Update and Model

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-01-01)
      Plummeting oil prices in 2014 and projected huge budget deficits have focused more attention on a question we began examining several years ago: how much can Alaska’s state government afford to spend, without risking the petroleum assets that supply most of its income? Sustainable annual General Fund spending is currently an estimated $4.5 billion. That’s how much the state could spend for general expenses this year and every year, long into the future, without depleting Alaska’s nest egg: state petroleum assets. It’s less than last year’s estimate of $5 billion, partly because expected oil revenues are smaller. The state should begin moving toward sustainable spending now. At this time we don’t know how much the state will spend this year. State officials are re-thinking planned spending, given the drop in oil revenues. Budget cuts will affect the economy, which relies heavily on state money—so the cuts should be gradual rather than precipitous. This paper introduces an interactive model to help people understand the fiscal challenges Alaska faces (see page 5). Users can download it from ISER’s website and investigate for themselves the implications of different assumptions about state revenues and fiscal policies Alaska’s petroleum nest egg is currently an estimated $135 billion—$66 billion of money in the bank and $69 billion of expected future petroleum revenues from various sources. As market conditions change, the size of the nest egg will continue to change—it has fallen in each of the four years we’ve been estimating its size. So the sustainable spending level changes somewhat as well, but it provides a reasonable guideline for building the budget.