• National Guard Subsistence Survey Reports (2006 and 2007)

      DeRoche, Patricia; Goldsmith, Scott; Killorin, Mary; Schultz, Caroline; Ulran, Uyuriukaraq Lily Anne Andrews; Wilson, Meghan (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
      These reports provides data collected regarding subsistence activities in communities of Alaska's north and south west regions (2006) and in the southeast region including Kenai and Kodiak (2007) . Data is tabulated by community and then by species. No interpretation is provided. Information intended to determine the best times for the National Guard to conduct training exercises in these areas.
    • Nature-Based Tourism in Southeast Alaska

      Dugam, Darcy; Fay, Ginny; Griego, Hannah; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-03)
      In this report we calculate the economic importance of nature-based tourism in Southeast Alaska as measured by business revenue. Our estimates are based on field research conducted during 2005, 2006 and 2007. We define nature-based tourism as those tourism activities for which the natural environment is a significant input.1 Our key findings include the following: • Nature-based tourism generates about $277 million per year of direct business revenues in Sitka, Juneau, Chichagof Island, Prince of Wales Island, Petersburg and Wrangell. This number is most likely an underestimate of total revenues because not all naturebased tourism businesses and business sectors could be included in our estimates. Our numbers do not include tips – which in some businesses might add 25% to revenues – or taxes and fess paid directly to local governments. In addition, the especially rainy weather of 2006 probably caused abnormally low sales for some businesses. • Average revenue per visitor varies considerably among communities and activities; ranging from about $140 per visitor in Juneau to more than $2,600 per visitor on Prince of Wales Island. These differences reflect the range of activities offered -- from half-day excursions to multiple, overnight all-inclusive lodge stays. • Nature-based tourism expenditures create a significant economic ripple effect that keeps money circulating through the economy. This money supports jobs in marketing, support services, food and beverages, accommodations, fuel sales, government, and other sectors. • Communities are clearly striving to differentiate themselves and capitalize on local amenities such as the Stikine River, Anan Creek, the LeConte Glacier, Tracy Arm, Glacier Bay, Pack Creek and exceptional fishing and scenic opportunities. • A large and growing portion of Southeast Alaska’s visitors are cruise ship passengers. Both cruise passengers and independent travelers are similarly interested in nature-based tourism services. The majority of cruise ship shore excursions offer nature-based activities, from hikes and glacier viewing to flightseeing and forest canopy zip lines. • Communities hosting large numbers of cruise passengers are actively developing new and creative tourism products such as forest canopy zip lines and mountain biking while those with fewer visitors tend to be focused on sport fishing. This appears to be the case even if local amenities exist to support a broader range of business and visitor activities. Thus, there appear to be unrealized opportunities in some communities, but these may also reflect an inadequate visitor base upon which to risk additional investment. • There is a complex and competitive system for pre-booking cruise ship shore excursions. Businesses with exclusive cruise line contracts make price and tour information available only to cruise passengers and often agree to sell tours only through the cruise line.• The tourism businesses in cruise ports of call that appear to be most successful either have a cruise ship shore excursion contract or are catering to overnight (non-cruise) guests with high-quality and high-value services. Examples of these types of businesses include sport fishing lodges and multi-day yacht cruises. • It is difficult to compete with established businesses holding existing cruise line contracts. Despite this hurdle, a number of companies are offering creative new products including zip lines through the forest canopy, glass-bottomed boats, and an amphibious “duck” tour. • Some operators attribute the increased interest in adventure activities to a change in cruise ship clientele. In recent years, cruise companies have been catering to a younger crowd, targeting families. In any event, increasing numbers of passengers are interested in more active pursuits. • Competition for cruise passengers exists both within and between communities, as people are booking their shore excursions in advance and look at all the options. Sitka companies mentioned they were carefully tracking zip line activity in Juneau and Ketchikan, dogsled tours on the Mendenhall Glacier, and other activities to see which market niche they could capture. • There is some evidence that visitors are willing to pay premium prices for higher quality experiences in more pristine environments. However, it is not clear what specific attributes (seclusion, fishing experience, food, services, perceived exclusivity, and environmental amenities) are the key components of this higher market value. • It is possible to design a community-based tourism program that provides employment to local residents as is occurring in Hoonah. However, Elfin Cove appears to bring in more in gross revenues than Hoonah with about one-eighth as many visitors because Hoonah’s operation relies on volume while Elfin Cove businesses rely on higher-priced fishing lodge experiences. Day trips seem to be relatively higher cost, lower profit operations. • Independent travelers appear to try to avoid crowds and many are repeat visitors. Most tend to stay longer and have more open itineraries than those on cruise ships or organized tours. These characteristics make independent travelers more difficult to contact. • Independent travelers also appear to seek communities with fewer visitors and those that they perceive to be more “authentic,” such as Petersburg, Wrangell, and communities on Chichagof Islands. A lack of transportation capacity, whether on scheduled jets or on ferries, may be limiting the opportunities for these smaller communities. Less marketing may also be a factor limiting visits by independent travelers. • The primary marketing mechanisms for smaller, non-cruise related businesses are the internet and word of mouth. In addition, many customers return to the same fishing lodge, yacht tour, or charter business year after year. • Wildlife viewing is highly attractive to visitors due to spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife including whales and other marine mammals. Companies in several communities expressed a desire to move toward more wildlife viewing and sightseeing and away from sport fishing. These operators preferred wildlife viewing as it was less stressful due to less pressure to catch fish. Some operators were making this shift, while others thought they would not be able to match the revenue generated by sport fishing. • Weather has a significant impact on business for companies whose tours are not prebooked on cruise ships. Operators noted a marked difference between the sunny, dry summer of 2004 and the remarkably wet summer of 2006. Visitors walking off a ship in the rain were much less likely to go on marine tours or hikes in soggy conditions, and seasonal revenues were down. Businesses with cruise contracts did not experience this setback as passengers are not reimbursed for pre-sold tours when weather conditions are poor. The one exception was flightseeing, where companies had to cancel tours due to unsafe weather conditions. • Promoting wildlife watching is an important marketing strategy for Southeast Alaska communities. Visitors bureaus currently produce pamphlets with charismatic large animals, such as whales and bears. Bureau staff cited studies showing the desire to see wildlife was attracting a large portion of out-of-state visitors. • A significant policy question emerging from this research is how the public lands might be managed to increase the economic returns from tourism to residents of Southeast Alaska communities, especially the smaller communities that can only accommodate smaller numbers of visitors at one time. Bear viewing is one example of a high-value activity that depends on controlled access to specific infrastructure.
    • Needs Assessment Related to COVID-19 with Special Populations: Brief Report

      Garcia, Gabriel; Mapaye, Joy; Wyck, Rebecca; Cueva, Katie; Snyder, Elizabeth; Meyer, Jennifer; Miller, Jenny; Hennessy, Thomas (2020-07-28)
    • New Students in the Anchorage School District: Where Are They From?

      Lowe, Marie E.; DeRoche, Patricia; Sharp, Suzanne; Wilson, Meghan (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-11)
      In September 2008, the superintendent of the Anchorage School District and the mayor of Anchorage sent a letter to the governor of Alaska, reporting what they thought might be an influx of students into Anchorage from rural communities. Enrollment in the school district was higher than expected, and it coincided with the largest-ever Alaska Permanent Fund dividend and with a one-time payment of $1,200 the state made per person, to help offset high energy costs. Researchers at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at UAA have a longstanding interest in migration patterns in Alaska and the Arctic, and they saw the increased enrollment in Anchorage schools as a potential opportunity to better understand: • If rural Alaskans are moving to Anchorage • Where they are coming from • Why they are moving So with the cooperation of the Anchorage School District, ISER conducted a survey of the parents or guardians of students who had enrolled in Anchorage in the 2007-2008 or 2008-2009 school years and who had transferred in from other Alaska school districts. Besides finding out where students were coming from—and why—another purpose of the study was to provide the Anchorage School District and the Municipality of Anchorage with information about what they could do to help students and families who are new to the city. To our knowledge, this may be the first survey ever conducted to find out why people move to Anchorage from other areas of Alaska.
    • North Star Project: Economic Impacts

      Tuck, Bradford (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1996)
      This analysis explores the economic impact of developing the Northstar field. The analysis is based on certain assumptions related to total capital development and production spending, recoverable oil, and other parameters, etc. Since the project is undergoing constant planning activity and review, these numbers may differ from others that have been reported. The Northstar field is located in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea, approximately six miles from Prudhoe Bay. It is projected that about 130 million barrels of oil can be recovered, over a fourteen year production period beginning in 1998. Total capital expenditures are estimated at about 379 million dollars, with an additional production related expenditure of about 197 million dollars. All dollar figures are in 1996 dollars.
    • Northstar Oil Field: Economic Impact Analysis

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      This analysis explores the economic impacts associated with the development of the Northstar oil field on Alaska's North Slope. It is based on the most current information about the project and updates an earlier study by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) entitled The Northstar Project:Economic Impacts, published in April 1996. The analysis is based in large part on information provided to ISER by British Petroleum Exploration (Alaska), Inc. Since the project is under continuous review and subject to regulatory and judicial delays of uncertain length the parameters of the project are subject to change. However the general description of the economic effects of the project are unlikely to change dramatically as evidenced by the general agreement regarding project economics in this analysis and the prior study. The general methodology of this analysis is similar to that outlined in the prior ISER study entitled Marginal Oil Field Development: The Economic Impact, published in June 1995.
    • Oceans, Watersheds and Humans: Facts, Myths and Realities

      Huntington, Henry; Colt, Steve (2002)
      Alaskans expect a great deal from their oceans and watersheds. Commercial fishing, sport fishing, subsistence hunting, recreation, offshore oil and gas development, transportation, and tourism are among the many ways the oceans, coast, watersheds, and their resources are used. These activities, however, can strain or break the capacity of the ecosystem to sustain them and they are not always compatible. Conflicts and controversies between different user groups are increasingly common. The role of societal forces in shaping the human-aquatic relationship is often under-appreciated, but can be critical. Protecting the health of Alaska’s oceans and watersheds requires managing the interactions between humans and those eco­systems, based on an understanding of the dynamics of both the natural and the social sys­tems involved. This paper provides an introductory look at the relationship between humans and the oceans and watersheds of Alaska. We begin by characterizing various aspects of the human interaction with oceans, followed by a critical look at five “myths” concerning oceans and watersheds.
    • Oil Price Surprises and the Budget

      Goldsmith, Scott (1990)
      Policy makers drawing up state budgets each year tend to use the price of oil prevailing during the legislative session as the basis for predicting oil prices and likely state petroleum revenues. Currently these make up about 85 percent of state income. This fiscal policy note examines some recent trends and the implications for short-term volatility, and longer term declines for state spending.
    • Oil Pumps Alaska's Economy to Twice the Size - But What's Ahead?

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-02)
      Oil money has driven most of the growth and paid for state government operations in Alaska for 40 years. We’ve all gotten used to that money, so it’s easy to underestimate how much of the state’s prosperity is built on oil. Think about this: without oil, the economy today would be only half the size. But now times are changing. The North Slope is producing just a third the oil it once did—and there’s a danger Alaskans will assume the state can keep going the way it is, without future oil development. Not true.
    • On the Eve of IFQs: Fishing for Alaska's Halibut and Sablefish

      Berman, Matthew; Leask, Linda (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
      This year, anyone with a boat, longline gear, and a $50 permit could try for halibut in Alaska’s commercial fisheries. But that open access will likely end in 1995, when the federal government introduces Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQs). Quotas—shares of the catch—will be issued just to those who owned or leased vessels that fished for halibut between 1988 and 1990. An IFQ system for sablefish (black cod) under federal management will start at the same time. The IFQ plan is not popular with the men and women who fish for halibut: 68 percent of captains (permit holders) believe IFQs will unfairly allocate halibut, even though 78 percent agree they will make fishing safer. But the IFQ system could also cause big changes in wealth, income, and jobs in Alaska’s coastal communities, which rely heavily on fishing. ISER is studying the potential effects of IFQs, especially on small coastal towns, under a Saltonstall-Kennedy grant. As a first step we surveyed captains (most of whom were also owners) of vessels with longline gear. This publication reports our survey findings.
    • Operations and Maintenance Issues in Rural Alaska Sanitation

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
      Today, many rural Alaskans have inadequate water and sanitation facilities. As a result, they face unacceptable health risks and an unacceptably poor quality of life. While much has been accomplished during the past 30 years, the honey bucket remains the primary form of sanitation in scores of communities. This paper is intended to stimulate discussion about several issues related to operations and maintenance of rural sanitation systems. The paper focuses on operations and maintenance issues because so many observers agree that proper O&M is crucial to success but severely lacking in many communities today. Section 2 reviews the prior recommendations of the Alaska Sanitation Task Force and issues raised during meetings of the Federal Field Work Group. Section 3 provides some discussion of these recommendations and issues, based on subsequent research. Section 4 provides a simple method for quantifying the benefits of preventive maintenance and R&D. Section 5 discusses mechanisms for providing O&M assistance. Section 6 provides three case studies of life cycle costs for three different system types.
    • Options For Restructuring Alaska Salmon Fisheries

      Knapp, Gunnar (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2003)
      The paper provides a very brief introduction to the very complicated topic of options for restructuring Alaska salmon fisheries. By "restructuring" we mean any change in the rules affecting how, where, when, and by whom, salmon are harvested in Alaska. The main goal of this paper is to show that there are many different ways to go about restructuring. the choices are not simply between broad options such as "permit stacking" or "buybacks" or "co-ops", but also - and critically - how those options are designed and implemented. Prepared for a panel discussion for the Alaska Legislature's Fish Caucus on "Restructuring the Salmon Industry: A discussion of Fishery Management Models".
    • Overpaid or Underpaid? Public Employee Compensation in the State of Alaska

      Guettabi, Mouhcine; Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-07-01)
      Are state workers better paid than their counterparts in private industry? That question is likely to come up more often, as the state deals with a huge budget shortfall. The answer is generally no, but there are exceptions. We analyzed the question in two ways, using different data sources for cash wages but the same assumptions about benefit levels.1 Using two sources helped us better answer the question, and each yielded the same broad conclusion: state workers are not on average paid more. That’s true, whether we consider just wages, or total compensation— wages plus benefits. But there are significant differences in pay and total compensation of public and private workers in individual occupations. We did this research for the Alaska Department of Administration (see back page). Below we summarize our findings, and inside report more details.
    • An Overview of Alaska's Natural Assets - Main Report and Research Summary

      Larson, Eric (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      Alaska’s natural assets kept Native people alive for centuries, drew fortune-hunters here in the 1800s, and sustain the modern economy. But what are all these “natural assets,” how abundant are they, and what is their value? The Alaska Conservation Alliance contracted with ISER to sketch the big picture of Alaska’s natural assets—ranging from spectacular scenery to huge petroleum and coal deposits to habitat for a big share of the world’s migrating waterfowl. This report is a broad overview of the abundance, status, and value of Alaska’s primary natural assets. These assets include all aspects of nature that provide some benefits, services, income, or value. These benefits include life support services such as water storage, regulation of the chemical composition of the atmosphere, and cycling nutrients through the food chain. The natural environment provides valuable raw materials such as oil, trees, and minerals that we make into products. We also relyon nature for fish, crops, livestock, and wild animals that we consume as food. Nature is also a valuable resource for non-consumptive use. For example, we enjoy outdoor recreation such as camping, hiking, picnicking, viewing wildlife, and skiing. These non-consumptive uses of nature enrich our lives and are the basis for much of the Alaska tourism industry.In Part II of this report we identify and describe major components of our natural assets. Because this is an overview, we take a broad look at many aspects of our natural assets and pass quickly across a lot of detail. In Part III of this report, we look more closely at why these assets are valuable and present methods to estimate the monetary value of selected natural assets.
    • The Past and Future of LNG in Alaska

      Tussing, Arlon R. (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
      Why do negotiations between the State and the North Slope gas producers ignore LNG [liquefied natural gas] export proposals, including that of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority [AGPA]? The three main North Slope gas producers [ConocoPhillips, BP and ExxonMobil], and Alaska’s Murkowski Administration, agree that an overland pipeline from Prudhoe Bay, crossing Canada to the U.S. Midwest, is the most promising transport system under present and foreseeable conditions, for marketing Arctic gas. Nevertheless, plans to ship LNG in “cryogenic” [low-pressure refrigerated] tankers from a Southcentral Alaska port such as Valdez or Kenai, to the Lower 48 or East Asia remain technically plausible marketing alternatives to a transcontinental gas pipeline. Currently, the most prominent proposal for such an alternative is sponsored by the Alaska Gasline Port Authority [AGPA], a coalition of three municipalities—the North Slope and Fairbanks North Star Boroughs, and the City of Valdez—which are located North to South along the route of the TransAlaska oil pipeline from the Arctic Ocean to Prince William Sound.
    • The Path to a Fiscal Solution: Use Earnings from All Our Assets

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-04-23)
      Thanks to a combination of good decisions and a little luck, today Governor Hammond’s vision has become a reality. More than $60 billion in financial accounts now generates more income for the state government than petroleum production. Yet we continue to rely mostly on current petroleum revenues to pay for public services—and as oil production declines, “sliding down the falling Prudhoe Bay revenue curve” is proving to be a formula for fiscal and economic disaster. In fiscal year 2016, General Fund revenues are expected to be only about $2.2 billion. That will leave an apparent “deficit” of about $3.3 billion, based on spending of $5.5 billion. But the state doesn’t have to face such a huge shortfall. There is a straightforward solution that Jay Hammond foresaw: using both current revenues and earnings from the state’s portfolio of assets (financial accounts and future petroleum revenues) to pay for public services.
    • Perceptions of Universal Ballet Delivery Systems

      Hanna, Virgene; Passini, Jessica (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2018-06-22)
      A total of 412 registered voters in the Bethel, Dillingham, and Kusilvak Census Areas completed surveys with ISER interviewers in March and April of 2018. The majority (74%) of respondents reported their race as Alaska Native and 13% were White. Near the beginning of the survey, interviewers asked respondents how they preferred to receive their ballot and 60% said they preferred to get it in person on Election Day, 21% would prefer to receive it by mail, and 17% would prefer to receive their ballot online. After respondents heard a description of three voting methods being considered: 1) keep voting the way it is now; 2) mail out and mail back; and 3) receive ballot in the mail and have different ways to return it their preferences changed somewhat. Of the three methods, keep voting the way it is now was the first choice by 49% of respondents, followed by 36% for option 3, and 14% for option 2. Respondents had little experience with voting methods other than in-person. When asked what made it difficult for them and other members of their community to vote, personal reasons, such as being sick or out of town, was the most frequent (37%) response. About two-thirds (64%) reported personal reasons made it difficult for people in their community to vote followed by 46% saying that the ballot being written in English made it difficult for people in their community. Over half (56%) of respondents reported they are satisfied with their mail service, only 17% of those who were satisfied said they would prefer to receive or return their ballot by mail.
    • Perceptions of Universal Ballot Delivery Systems

      Hanna, Virgene; Passini, Jessica (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 6/22/2018)
      A total of 412 registered voters in the Bethel, Dillingham, and Kusilvak Census Areas completed surveys with ISER interviewers in March and April of 2018. The majority (74%) of respondents reported their race as Alaska Native and 13% were White. Near the beginning of the survey, interviewers asked respondents how they preferred to receive their ballot and 60% said they preferred to get it in person on Election Day, 21% would prefer to receive it by mail, and 17% would prefer to receive their ballot online. After respondents heard a description of three voting methods being considered: 1) keep voting the way it is now; 2) mail out and mail back; and 3) receive ballot in the mail and have different ways to return it their preferences changed somewhat. Of the three methods, keep voting the way it is now was the first choice by 49% of respondents, followed by 36% for option 3, and 14% for option 2. Respondents had little experience with voting methods other than in-person. When asked what made it difficult for them and other members of their community to vote, personal reasons, such as being sick or out of town, was the most frequent (37%) response. About two-thirds (64%) reported personal reasons made it difficult for people in their community to vote followed by 46% saying that the ballot being written in English made it difficult for people in their community. Over half (56%) of respondents reported they are satisfied with their mail service, only 17% of those who were satisfied said they would prefer to receive or return their ballot by mail.
    • Permanent Fund Policy Questions and Informal Review of Proposals for Change

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1997)
      The growing importance of the Permanent Fund in the fiscal, economic, political and social life of the state requires that we periodically review how it is working, not necessarily to change it, but to ensure that it is continuing to do what is best for Alaska. This paper reviews recent proposals for changes in Permanent Fund policies using a series of questions that each stakeholder should consider. The answers to these questions should help to evaluate those proposals and stimulate thought about the role of the Permanent Fund in Alaska's future. Prepared for Principles and Interests: The Permanent Fund and Alaska's Future, a conference sponsored by the Alaska Humanities Forum.
    • Petroleum Industry and Fairbanks Economy

      Huskey, Lee (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1995)
      The petroleum industry plays an important role in the economy of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, but that role is largely hidden from view. A major portion of the local economy is linked to petroleum production, and economic activity in the petroleum sector is one of the most important determinants of the size of the overall economy. The primary task of this report was to estimate the size of the Fairbanks petroleum sector. This report defines the petroleum sector to include all economic activity in the region which would not exist without North Slope oil production. The report looks at the role of the petroleum sector in 1994 and was prepared for BP (Alaska) Inc. for presentation to the State of Alaska Oil and Gas Policy Council.