• Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Anchorage

      Goldsmith, Scott; Frazier, Rosyland (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2001)
      In the spring of 2001, the Mayor of Anchorage, George Wuerch, tasked a Kitchen Cabinet Task Force with the goal of developing recommendations to help heal racism in Anchorage. The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) of the University of Alaska Anchorage agreed to assist the Task Force by conducting a series of focus groups in the community. The purpose of these focus groups was to obtain an assessment of attitudes and opinions about the quality of life in Anchorage from the perspective different racial groups and to solicit recommendations for improving race relations within the community....A more detailed analysis of the focus groups, based on a review of the focus group transcripts, would add more depth and detail, but we feel the main ideas identified during the focus groups are described in this report.
    • Recreation and Tourism in South-Central Alaska: Patterns and Prospects prepared for the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Station

      Tomeo, Martha; Colt, Steve; Martin, Stephanie; Mieren, Jenna (U.S. Department of Agriculture (Forest Service) - Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2002)
      Based on data from various sources, this report describes the extent and nature of recreation and tourism in south-central Alaska. Current activities, past trends, and prospective developments are presented. Particular attention is given to activities that occur on, or are directly affected by management of, the Chugach National Forest. Recreation and tourism in and around the forest are also placed in a larger context. The Chugach National Forest is heavily used as a scenic resource by motorists and waterborne passengers; road access to the forest supports recreation activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Although the annual rate of increase in visitors to south-central Alaska seems to have slowed in the late 1990s, evidence indicates that currently both visitors and Alaska residents are increasingly seeking active forms of recreation and ?soft adventure.? These demands, combined with likely capacity constraints at well-known attractions in Alaska and entrepreneurial efforts to provide short-duration recreation and tourism experiences, may lead to increasing use of the Chugach National Forest.
    • Reducing and Recycling Hazardous Materials in Alaska: A Summary of Selected Commercial Hazardous Waste Minimization Programs

      DeRoche, Patricia; Relyea, April; Siver, Darla; Larson, Eric (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      A wide variety of businesses, manufacturers, institutions, military posts, small businesses, and agencies in Alaska regularly handle hazardous wastes at their facilities. Many of these facilities have chosen voluntarily to provide information about their efforts to minimize hazardous wastes. The information they provide helps to encourage and to expand hazardous waste minimization efforts statewide. Furthermore, the information supports the state's efforts to work cooperatively with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help businesses and agencies comply with federal hazardous waste guidelines.' The purpose of this report is to provide a summary of the information provided by facilities in Alaska. Our analysis is based on information reported by facilities in their "Waste Minimization/Pollution Prevention Supplements to Annual Hazardous Waste Reports" for the last three years. In addition we have conducted in-depth telephone interviews with selected oil and gas and govemment facilities to leam in more detail how they manage hazardous materials. This report expands in several ways on a study we completed last year. In this new study we've looked in more detail at the written responses of the pollution prevention reports; we've compiled data for more than one year; and we've analyzed the results of our telephone interviews with facilities to learn more about the unique characteristics of waste management. In Section II of this report, we describe the most common wastes handled by facilities based on their responses to the pollution prevention reports. InSection III, we describe the characteristics ofhazardous waste minimization assessments and plans based on responses in telephone interviews and the pollution prevention reports.
    • Reflections on the Surplus Economy and the Alaska Permanent Fund

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute for Public Economics (University of Alberta), 2001)
      The Alaska Permanent Fund was created in 1977, shortly after oil form Alaska's North Slope began flowing to market through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. It was originally envisioned to serve two general purposes - to set aside a share of oil revenues for the benefit of future generations of Alaskans after the depletion of the oil reserves, and to keep a share of oil revenues out of the hands of the current generation of politicians who could be counted to spend it on wasteful government operations and capital expenditures....The issue is how to design a set of public fiscal institutions that, taking this new revenue into account, will maximize long-term social welfare. Paper presented at a conference held at the University of Alberta, Sept. 2001.
    • A Regional Assessment of Borough Government Finances And Employment

      Guettabi, Mouhcine (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-06-01)
      Alaska’s state budget revenues declined by more than 90% from 2012 to 2016, mainly due to a sharp drop in oil prices: oil revenues have paid for most state government operations since the 1980s. This loss of so much revenue has led to a shortfall of billions of dollars in the state budget and a sluggish economy. The health of a state’s tax revenues is critical to its economic growth and ability to finance public services. Considerable attention has been paid to the state’s fiscal woes, which are still ongoing. But the state also provides considerable support to Alaska’s local governments—and there has been little analysis of how the decline of state revenues might affect local governments. This analysis reports how much Alaska’s 19 borough governments rely on state aid—individually and as a group—and considers how vulnerable they are to cuts in state aid as time goes on. Alaska also has city governments, both within and outside organized boroughs, but here we look only at borough governments —which are essentially regional governments that, unlike cities, all have the same mandatory powers. We want to emphasize that our figures are estimates; boroughs report their revenues quite differently, and sometimes in ways that make it nearly impossible to identify allocations from the state. Alaska provides three main kinds of aid to local governments: aid for general government operating expenses (revenue sharing), grants for public works projects, and aid for schools. It has mostly relied on its oil wealth to fund that aid to local governments. Revenue sharing helps ensure that all areas of the state can pay for basic public services and have reasonably equitable and stable local tax rates. Aid to schools is a major part of the state’s budget, and it pays for a large share of school costs. State grants for local capital projects can vary sharply by year. In the years when oil prices were high—much of the time between 2008 and 2012—those grants were large. Since then, the state capital budget has shrunk to a small fraction of what it was a few years back.
    • The Regional Economy of Southeast Alaska

      Colt, Steve; Fay, Ginny; Dugan, Darcy (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
      Southeast Alaska consists of all boroughs and census areas including and east of the Yakutat Borough. (An Alaska borough or census area is the geographic equivalent of a county in the lower 48 states.) The eight boroughs and census areas are listed in Table 1. The “Southeast Region” is one of six longstanding labor market regions defined by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Following numerous other authors, we will refer to the Juneau City and Borough as “Juneau” and to the remaining seven census areas as “rural Southeast” or “rural Southeast Alaska.” This report provides a broad overview of the regional economy of Southeast Alaska, including trends over time for individual communities and boroughs. It also addresses several specific topics identified by the study team and the project sponsors. The main purpose is to add to the information and knowledge base available to help people make informed decisions. This knowledge base now includes several excellent and recent reports. These will be mentioned, cited, and briefly summarized, but not recapitulated at any length. Readers of this report are strongly encouraged to consult these other reports.
    • Reindeer Markets in the Circumpolar North: An Economic Outlook

      Humphries, John (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
      The commercial production of caribou and reindeer meat is relatively small; it is estimated that less than 175,000 animals are harvested annually. Reindeer husbandry or commercial caribou hunts occur in seven circumpolar countries: Canada, Finland, Greenland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States yet total production is still very low. Properly processed reindeer meat is seen as a high-end luxury or specialty meat in all those countries except Russia. In addition to hide, both male and female reindeer produce horns, which are valuable and can be sold for between 4 and 14 dollars per pound. Overall, reindeer herding and caribou hunting has had wildly varying levels of success, although they seem to be struggling across the globe. This paper provides an economic analysis of the reindeer industry, so we can better understand its challenges, successes, and structure, examine the total size and production of the market, and evaluate the socio-economic tradeoffs between subsistence and commercial harvests. This paper examines the reindeer markets in Canada, Finland, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, and Alaska, though most emphasis is placed on North America. Russia has been left out of this analysis, due to the scale and complexity of reindeer herding in Russia and the difficulty of obtaining information on the subject. The first part of this paper will estimate total global production and will examine international trade and price discrepancies. Then three forms of herding and two forms of hunting in commercial operations will be reviewed. The current market structures in North American countries will be examined next. The fourth part of this paper will examine the state of the industry and the factors that affect its production choices on a global level. Finally, the choice between subsistence and commercial production will be examined from an economic viewpoint.
    • The Remote Rural Economy of Alaska

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
      Statewide descriptions of the Alaska economy are dominated by the much larger urban areas and cannot convey a sense of the unique features of the remote rural part of the state. And although there has been much written about the economy of remote Alaska, much of it is out of date or not well-grounded in the current economic realities of the region. Without a comprehensive description of the economy, discussions of economic development strategies are not possible. This description is a snapshot of the region as a whole, as distinct from the rest of Alaska. At the same time it recognizes the great variations in climate, terrain, culture, economic activity, opportunity, and well-being within the region. The description relies on published economic information about the region, which varies from good to sparse to non-existent, due to the vast size, small population, remote location, and complexity of the economic structure of the region. Consequently, the description is at best an approximation, constructed from all available published sources. No primary data collection was undertaken for this analysis.
    • Renewable Power in Rural Alaska: Improved Opportunities for Economic Deployment

      Crimp, Peter; Colt, Steve; Foster, Mark (2007)
      Sharp increases in the price of distillate fuel have led to wider economic opportunities for local renewable energy resources in the over 180 rural Alaskan communities that are served by electrical microgrids isolated from larger population centers. Between 2002 and 2007 the median price of diesel fuel for utility power generation in rural Alaska increased by 72% to $0.71/l ($2.70/gal). During this period the median unsubsidized residential cost of power increased by 20% to $0.468/kWh. The Alaska Rural Energy Plan, based on 2002 fuel costs, indicated widespread opportunities for cost-saving measures from end use efficiency, diesel generation efficiency, diesel combined heat and power, and wind energy. This paper assesses economics of small hydroelectric, wind-diesel, and biomass-fired combined heat and power under a range of future oil price assumptions.
    • Repeat Maltreatment in Alaska: Assessment and Exploration of Alternative Measures

      Vadapalli, Diwakar; Passini, Jessica (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-12-01)
      Most deaths and serious injuries among children who are abused or neglected are preceded by multiple reported instances of maltreatment. The Office of Children Services (OCS), Alaska’s child protection agency, is very concerned about repeat maltreatment. It’s extremely damaging to children and demoralizing to everyone who tries to help prevent it. Over the last several years, Alaska has consistently had among the highest rates in the country of repeat child maltreatment, as reported by the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those federal figures measure the percentage of children who were the victims of at least two substantiated reports—that is, confirmed reports—of maltreatment within six months. In 2009, nearly 10% of children who were the subjects of investigation by OCS were reported as suffering repeat maltreatment, compared with less than 6% nationwide. By 2013, the share in Alaska was at nearly 13%, compared with a national rate of less than 5.5% (Figure S-1). But even those grim federal statistics don’t provide a complete picture of repeat child maltreatment in Alaska. Many analysts believe that not all cases where maltreatment may have occurred are substantiated, and that maltreatment of a child may be reported a number of times, over a longer period, before it is substantiated. Also, for various reasons, many reports of maltreatment are not investigated at all, in Alaska and other states, and only a small share of those that are investigated are substantiated. For example, in Alaska in 2013, 42% of reports in an average month were not investigated, and only 12% of reports were substantiated
    • Repeat Maltreatment in Alaska: Assessment and Exploration of Alternative Measures

      Passini, Jessica; Vadapalli, Diwakar (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 12/1/2015)
    • Replacement Cost for Public Infrastructure in Alaska: An Update

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-07)
      Replacing Alaska’s public infrastructure would cost nearly $59 billion, in today’s dollars. That includes, as the table shows, the costs of replacing public buildings as well as transportation and utility systems.1 This is an update of an estimate ISER made in 2007—which at that time was the first comprehensive estimate of the cost to replace Alaska’s public infrastructure.2 That 2007 estimate was considerably less—about $39.5 billion—but we emphasized at the time that it was preliminary. It did not take into account that costs to replace infrastructure in remote areas are higher, and it undercounted and undervalued certain types of infrastructure, including power and telephone systems. This revised estimate is based on an analysis of cost differences across the state, additional data on existing infrastructure, and additional consultation with engineers, architects, and cost estimators.
    • Report on the Benzene Study of 2008-2009

      Gordian, Mary Ellen (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010-05-25)
      The purpose of this study was to determine whether reducing the amount of benzene in gasoline, which is scheduled to take place in 2011, will effect a change in indoor air benzene levels in Anchorage, Alaska. This is an interim report that discusses the first phase of a two-phase study. The first phase measured benzene levels in homes and garages every month for over one year. Due to the lack of chemical markets, the gasoline refined in Alaska contains 5% or more of benzene. Over the past two decades, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) measured in Anchorage, Alaska, have had higher concentrations in both indoor and ambient air than most other cities in the United States. Previous studies in Anchorage have shown that attached garages are a significant source of benzene and other VOCs in the living space of homes. In 2007-2008 we conducted a randomized study of houses with attached garages in Anchorage, Alaska, to determine whether there were associated respiratory health risks. We asked the resident owners of these houses to measure the benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylenes (BTEX) in their homes for one week using a passive vapor monitor badge. The results of that study showed that 47% of the houses had indoor-air benzene levels that—if they were maintained throughout the year—would exceed the minimal risk levels for inhalation set by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Sixteen percent of the houses exceeded the acute risk. The results also showed that the BTEX measured in the indoor air came from gasoline fumes. We conducted this second study to determine whether levels found on a single, weekly measurement adequately represented the actual annual exposure in that house. We also wanted to see what the ratio was between levels in the garage and levels in the house since most of the exposure was thought to be coming into the house from the garage. We were also interested in any seasonal variation in the exposure to indoor benzene concentrations. This study would give us that sense of seasonal variability to be able to approximate long-term exposure and to guide future study. We were getting baseline data that could demonstrate the effect of the reduction in benzene in gasoline on the indoor air quality in Anchorage. It is expected that the level of benzene in gasoline will be reduced starting as soon as next year.
    • Response to Questions: Potential Effects on Alaska of Proposed Health-Care Reform Legislation

      Foster, Mark A.; Frazier, Rosyland (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010-01)
      Mark Foster of Mark A. Foster and Associates (MAFA) is a consultant to ISER, and Rosyland Frazier is an ISER research associate. Both the authors have broad experience studying health-care issues in Alaska, and they have recently been looking at the problems Alaska’s Medicare patients face in getting primary-care doctors to see them. They prepared this note to respond quickly to questions from and discussions with the Office of the Governor in Washington, D.C. and Alaska’s Congressional delegation. Those questions and discussions were about the possible implications for Alaska’s Medicare patients of provisions in health-care reform legislation the U.S. Congress is considering, as well as about the broader potential effects on Alaska of the proposed legislation. This is by no means a full analysis of the many complex issues associated with health-care reform. A working paper by the same authors—examining the Medicare-access problem and related health-policy issues in more detail—will be available soon. The findings and conclusions of this note are those of the authors. If you have questions, get in touch will Rosyland Frazier at: anrrf@uaa.alaska.edu
    • Retaining Quality Teachers for Alaska

      Hill, Alexandra; Larson, Eric; McDiarmid, Williamson, G. (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2002)
      Historically, Alaska has depended heavily on teachers educated outside the state. Over time, Alaska has imported roughly 70 percent of its teachers. As a consequence, national trends—in certification of new teachers, teacher shortages, retirements, and salaries—are of immediate relevance to teacher supply and demand in Alaska. Before we delve into data on Alaska educators, therefore, we will look at the wider national picture. Specifically, projections of student enrollment, teacher retirement, turnover, and new entrants to the teaching field seem critical to the issue. The data suggest that a significant number of people do not teach after earning their certificates—perhaps as many as 40 percent of the graduates of teacher education programs nationwide. And the attrition rate for teachers in the first five years of teaching is also high—between 30 and 50 percent, depending on location (Darling-Hammond, 2000; NCES, 1997). Consequently, a graduating class of 100 teachers might yield, five years later, between 30 and 42 teachers in the classroom.
    • A Review of Alaska School District Cost Study

      Tuck, Bradford (2004)
      The Alaska Legislature’s Legislative Budget and Audit Committee asked the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage to review the Alaska School District Cost Study. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) prepared that study for the legislative committee. The study was to provide a “geographic cost of education index” that the state could use to help equalize the purchasing power of educational dollars it allocates to school districts across Alaska. Costs of living can vary substantially in different areas of Alaska. The study, in two volumes plus supplemental materials, was released in January 2003 and supplemented in February 2003. Also, in a response dated April 11, 2003, AIR answered a number of questions that had been raised about the study.
    • A Review of Denali Highway Lifecycle Costs

      Larson, Eric (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2001)
      The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT/PF) has considered several alternatives for maintaining the Denali Highway. The Alaska Center for the Environment asked the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) to review published estimates of the cost of maintaining the road to see if they are consistent with standard economic methodology. To conduct this review we relied primarily on two DOT/PF memorandums and a spreadsheet. DOT/PF confined that these documents are the most recent estimates of several relevant publications listed at the end of this report....We supplemented this information with several relevant publications listed at the end of this report. The remainder of this report summarizes our review of maintenance and construction costs of the Denali Highway. We describe the data used in the study, present the primary findings, describe the sensitivity of results to changes in assumptions, suggest future areas of research, and make final recommendations.
    • Review of the 1990 Census in Alaska - Report and Research Summary

      Pelz, Robert; Kruse, Jack (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
      Although not required by law to do so, the State of Alaska uses the federal decennial census count of the state's population as a basis for redistricting the state legislature. This study was commissioned by the Reapportionment Board to answer the question of whether the decennial census count is the best source of data for redistricting. The methods used to examine the quality of the decennial census count also offered an opportunity to assess the quality of demographic, social, and economic data collected from samples of households. These same methods provided a useful basis for recommendations on how to improve the next decennial census.
    • Review of the Alaska Health Facility Input Price Index

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
      The purpose of the Alaska Health Facility Input Price Index (AHFIPI) is to describe and estimate the cost inflation in hospital and nursing home services in Alaska. If the Alaska economy is expected to grow more slowly than the US economy it does not seem reasonable for the Alaska Health Facilities Input Price Index to forecast higher inflation than for the US for the years 1994 through 1997. Since the other proxy variables in the index are regional or national, the faster rate of inflation for the Alaska index is entirely attributable to the higher predicted AHE inflation rate. Other evidence suggests that the trend in Alaska costs is to increase more slowly that the national average and that this projection of more rapid inflation is inconsistent with that historical evidence. These data sources suggest that overall prices, Alaska health costs, and wagerates in general are rising less rapidly than the US average and that these trends will continue unless some can be identified which would reverse them.
    • Revising the State Fiscal Plan to Account for Petroleum Wealth

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-05)
      In 2008 the Alaska Legislature passed and the governor signed into law a bill requiring the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prepare an annual state fiscal plan projecting state spending for 10 years and identifying the revenue sources to pay for that spending. One objective of the law was to get government and the general public thinking, discussing, and planning for the long-term fiscal health of the state in light of declining oil production. These plans have not attracted the attention they deserve. In this Web Note we review the most recent fiscal year 2012 10-year plan and offer suggestions for improvement.