• UAA Graduates: How Many Stay and Work in Alaska?

      Hill, Alexandra; Knapp, Gunnar; Steenhoven, Blake (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-12-01)
      More and more people have been graduating from the University of Alaska Anchorage in the past decade. Do they stay in Alaska? What kinds of jobs do they have? How much do they earn? It turns out that most of them stay in Alaska for at least five years after they graduate, they work throughout the economy, and by five years after they graduate their average earnings double. Around one-quarter do leave within a few years. But Alaska’s population on the whole is transient, and it looks as if UAA graduates are no more likely than other Alaskans to leave the state. And the limited evidence for those who graduated in the most recent years suggests they may be staying on in higher numbers. These are among the findings of an analysis ISER and UAA’s Office of Institutional Research did for university leaders, who wanted to know more about UAA graduates working in Alaska. It’s based on patterns among nearly 9,000 people who got UAA certificates or degrees from 2003 through 2007. We asked researchers at the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development to compare data on graduates with data on employment and residence, in the years since they graduated. The department’s employment data cover only people working for businesses or state and local governments. There is no comparable data on federal workers or self-employed people. So when we describe graduates working in Alaska, the figures don’t include those who work for the federal government or are self-employed.
    • UAA Inventory: Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Transportation

      Szymoniak, Nick; Ralph, Kelcie; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-03-25)
      As a signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, UAA has agreed to conduct an inventory of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This inventory serves as a baseline against which to measure the effectiveness of GHG emissions reduction projects. To fulfill the Commitment UAA agreed to conduct an inventory of its Scope 1 and 2 emissions, as well as some Scope 3 emissions. In addition to signing the Presidents Climate Commitment, UAA signed the Talloires Declaration in April 2004. The Talloires Declaration is a statement of principles and practices for using higher education to promote sustainability. Scope 1 emissions are defined as direct GHG emissions occurring from sources that are owned or controlled by the institution. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions generated in the production of energy purchased by the institution. Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions that are the consequence of the activities of the institution, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the institution. Pursuant to the Commitment, this study estimates the levels of two types of Scope 3 GHG emissions – commuting by students and employees, and university-funded air travel. Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions are being estimated in a separate study. Two models were developed and used: a UAA commuter model and a UAA air travel model.
    • Understanding Alaska State Finances: What Citizens Want to Know and How to Convey that Information Effectively

      Haley, Sharman (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2003)
      Fiscal policy is a major dilemma for this state. State oil revenues have been declining since 1982. Despite cuts in the state’s general fund spending--down from a high of $2.9 billion in FY1982 to $2.5 billion in FY2002--the state budget has been in deficit eight of the last ten years. The FY 2002 deficit constituted nearly one third of the state general fund budget. At the current rate, the Constitutional Budget Reserve—the savings account which is being drawn down to cover the deficit—will be exhausted in about two years. Political opinion is so fragmented on the question of what to do that the legislature has been unable to forge a fiscal plan to address the issue. Indeed, the very nature of the problem is contested. Results from a state wide fiscal opinion survey last year (Moore, 2001) suggest that voter attitudes are a major factor in the current policy impasse. While 80 percent feel that some kind of fiscal plan is needed, only one third are very likely to support some kind of plan involving taxes and permanent fund earnings, another one third somewhat likely to support such a plan, and one third not very or not at all likely. Analysis of the data shows that more informed voters, with a more accurate understanding of some basic facts about Alaska’s fiscal structure, are more likely to support a plan involving taxes and permanent fund earnings.
    • Understanding Alaska's Remote Rural Economy

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2008)
      In the big, remote stretches of northern and western Alaska, many households keep themselves going with a mix of cash, subsistence, sharing, and other non-cash trading. That’s a world away from the state’s urban economy, and under standard measures like income, the remote rural economy lags far behind. Over the years there have been many efforts to improve the remote rural economy—but there’s a lot we don’t know about it. Standard economic measures don’t capture all the activity in an economy where subsistence, sharing, and non-cash trading play important parts. Some kinds of data don’t even exist. But to develop effective strategies, Alaskans need to understand the economic realities of the remote region. This paper is an overview of the remote economy, based on published data. It’s at best an approximation, because the data are so limited. Still, it’s a first step—and it highlights the many gaps in information. Stretching from the North Slope to the Alaska Peninsula, the remote region covers 395,000 square miles and is large enough to hold Japan, Germany, and Great Britain. Alaska Natives, the region’s aboriginal people, still make up most of the population—although thousands have moved to urban areas in recent times. The 60,500 residents live in five regional centers and about 150 small communities.
    • Understanding Alaska: People, Economy, and Resources

      Foster, Mark; Cravez, Pamela; Cole, Terrence (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
      Understanding Alaska is a special series of studies by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), to examine economic development issues and help Alaskans understand how their economy works. The studies began in 2001, and here we highlight some of the work so far. The University of Alaska Foundation has provided most of the funding for Understanding Alaska which examines how Alaska’s economy works, why it’s different from those in other states, and how Alaska’s unique circumstances affect economic development. This publication divides Understanding Alaska research into three categories: People, Economy, and Fisheries. At the end of each section is a list of the full reports or presentations excerpted for this overview. In some cases, we’ve updated information specifically for this publication.
    • Understanding Barriers to Health Insurance of Uninsured and Sporadically Insured Alaskans

      Wilson, Meghan; Hanna, Virgene; Frazier, Rosyland (2007)
      It’s no surprise that a lot of the Alaskans who don’t have health insurance say they just can’t afford it. That’s what individual Alaskans and representatives of small businesses told us, when we held focus groups in Anchorage, the Mat-Su and Kenai Peninsula boroughs, and Kodiak. But the focus groups, held from late 2006 through early 2007, did much more than just confirm what many Alaskans— and millions of other Americans—say about the costs of health insurance. We held the focus groups under contract with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, as part of the state’s effort to learn more about the barriers a substantial number of Alaskans face in getting health-care coverage. There were 16 focus groups, attended by 89 individual Alaskans, 30 representatives of small businesses, and 5 Alaskans who sell health insurance.
    • Understanding Water Rights in Alaska

      Leask, Linda; Lowe, Marie (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-02-01)
      Alaska’s state constitution defines water as a public resource, but no one has automatic rights to use water.1 The constitution and Alaska law allow the state government to decide who can use water, how much they can use, and for what. That’s true on both private and public land, and for all landowners —government agencies, businesses, and individual Alaskans. Anyone who plans to use a significant amount of water needs to get water rights, which are legal rights to specific amounts of water, from specific sources, for specific purposes.2 The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) processes water-rights applications and decides whether to issue water-right permits and certificates. And anyone who gets water rights has priority over those who apply later, if other proposed uses would conflict with theirs.3
    • United or Divided Twins? The Political Economy of Beringia

      Tussing, Arlon R.; Tichotsky, John (Russian Federation Printing Committee, 2004)
      When the US purchased Alaska from the Russians in1867 it quickly stepped into Russia's role in the colonial relationship. The US exploited salmon as the primary base resource from about 1878. Gold was discovered in lode deposits in the 1880s in the southeast of Alaska (Juneau and Treadwell), about the same time as the Lena goldfields of Irkutsk began to step up operations. We anticipate that Alaska contains or has demonstrated most of the elements that we can expect to see in the foreseeable development of other post-Soviet Arctic regions, including Alaska's nearest neighbor Chukotka, one of Russia's poorest and least modernized regions. This article was written for the 'Beringia' issue of the Northern Expanses journal which was a joint effort of the US National Park Service as part of the International Decade of Indigenous People.
    • Universal Cash and Crime

      Watson, Brett; Reimer, Matthew; Guettabi, Mouhcine (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska, 2019)
      We estimate the effects of universal cash transfers on crime from Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend, an annual lump-sum payment to all Alaska residents. We find a 14% increase in substance-abuse incidents the day after the payment and a 10% increase over the following four weeks. This is partially offset by a 8% decrease in property crime, with no changes in violent crimes. On an annual basis, however, changes in criminal activity from the payment are small. Estimated costs comprise a very small portion of the total payment, suggesting that crime-related concerns of a universal cash transfer program may be unwarranted.
    • Universal Cash Transfers and Labor Market Outcomes

      Bibler, Andrew; Guettabi, Mouhcine; Reimer, Matthew (SSRN, 2019)
      One major criticism of universal basic income is that unconditional cash transfers discourage recipients from working. We estimate the causal effects of a universal cash transfer on short-run labor market activity by exploiting the timing and variation of a long-running unconditional and universal transfer: Alaska's Permanent Fund Dividend. We find evidence of both a positive labor demand and negative labor supply response to the transfers, document important heterogeneity across workers, and provide a set of placebo tests supporting our main results. Altogether, a $1,000 increase in the per-person disbursement leads to a 0.2% labor market contraction on an annual basis.
    • Universal Cash Transfers Reduce Childhood Obesity Rates

      Watson, Brett; Reimer, Matthew; Guettabi, Mouhcine (SSRN, 2019)
      We evaluate the impact of universal income on childhood obesity. While the goals of implementing universal income are many, its influence on childhood obesity is of particular interest given the growing obesity epidemic and its future threat to global public health. We use evidence from Alaska’s universal income program, the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD), which has provided annual, unconditional, and universal income to Alaskan residents for over thirty-five years. We use both survey and administrative data to evaluate how the availability of unconditional resources at an early developmental stage, in terms of PFD payments to the child, affects a child’s body mass index (BMI). Using date-of-birth eligibility cut-offs as an identification strategy, we find that an additional one thousand dollars in PFD payments decreases the probability of an Alaskan child being obese by as much as 4.5 percentage points. Back-of-the-envelope calculations for Alaska suggest these reduction may avert 500 cases of obesity and achieve medical cost savings of $2-10 million per year. These findings highlight just one of the potential social benefits of universal income and the potential it has as a tool for addressing the obesity epidemic.
    • University of Alaska Engineering Programs: A Community View

      Killorin, Mary; DeRoche, Patricia (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2003)
      The University of Alaska is developing a strategic plan for using its engineering resources to meet the needs of the engineering community. The goal of the university is to graduate enough engineers to meet the current and anticipated employment needs in engineering, as well as to provide appropriate professional development courses. Working from a list provided by the UAF and UAA engineering deans, we conducted 35 interviews with representatives of 30 private companies and government agencies. This report summarizes what we learned in those interviews. We start with a description of our methodology (including a summary of the limited information we were able to collect on the numbers and types of engineers employed by organizations we surveyed). In the main part of the report we present a qualitative analysis of respondents’ answers, grouped under four headings—current and future needs for engineers; ability of the University of Alaska engineering programs to meet the employment needs of the engineering community; recommended changes and initiatives for the university’s engineering programs; and observations to share. We then summarize our conclusions. Appendixes A and B present our letter to respondents and our telephone interview script.
    • University of Alaska Research: An Economic Enterprise (2007 Update)

      Goldsmith, Scott (2007)
      Nearly $50 billion of the $312 billion of total U.S. research and development expenditures in 2004 (preliminary) consisted of university research. Excluding federally funded research and development centers administered by universities, like the Los Alamos National Laboratory, total research-related revenues of U.S. universities were $43 billion in FY 2004, continuing a positive trend stretching back at least to the early 1950s. The federal government is the largest source of funding for university research, accounting for 64 percent in 2004. Internal university funding (institutional funding) is next in order of importance, contributing 18 percent of the total. State and local governments account for nearly 7 percent, as does the category of other (including nonprofit organizations). Private industry is the smallest category of contributor, providing less than 5 percent. Total research and development spending (including not only academic but also government and private research) in Alaska in 2003, the most recent year for which complete information is available, was $321 million. Alaska ranked 48th among the states, consistent with the size of its economy, measured by gross state product. Academic research was a higher share of total research and development, as reflected by Alaska’s rank of 43rd among the states. This paper updates the June 2004 ISER analysis entitled The Economics of University Research.
    • The University of Alaska: How Is It Doing?

      Kassier, Theodore; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-05)
      Recent reports on higher education in the U.S. say it’s in trouble— that it’s too expensive, doesn’t offer enough need-based aid, isn’t educating people for today’s jobs, doesn’t demand enough of instructors or students, and isn’t sufficiently accountable to policymakers and taxpayers.1 Is the University of Alaska (UA)—the state’s only public university —offering a good, affordable education for Alaskans? This paper looks at that question. It first presents the available data on various measures and then summarizes successes and continuing challenges for UA. It ends with a discussion of how UA and the state are addressing higher-education issues and what other steps they might consider.
    • The University of Alaska: How Is It Doing?

      Kassier, Theodore; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2008)
      Recent reports on higher education in the U.S. say it’s in trouble— that it’s too expensive, doesn’t offer enough need-based aid, isn’t educating people for today’s jobs, doesn’t demand enough of instructors or students, and isn’t sufficiently accountable to policymakers and taxpayers.1 Is the University of Alaska (UA)—the state’s only public university —offering a good, affordable education for Alaskans? This paper looks at that question. It first presents the available data on various measures and then summarizes successes and continuing challenges for UA. It ends with a discussion of how UA and the state are addressing higher-education issues and what other steps they might consider. UA has made substantial progress on a number of goals in the past decade. For example, it’s attracting a growing share of Alaska’s college-bound freshmen, and it’s educating many more students for jobs in high-demand areas like health care and technology. The school’s overall retention and graduation rates are improving. But UA also faces many of the same issues as other public universities— like sharp increases in tuition and significant numbers of students who come out of high school unable to read, write, or do math at college-level.
    • Unlocking our Petroleum Wealth Potential: A Game Plan for Meeting Alaska's Fiscal Challenge

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 12/1/2015)
    • Unlocking our Petroleum Wealth Potential: A Game Plan for Meeting Alaska's Fiscal Challenge

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 12/1/2015)
    • Updated Analysis of National Greenhouse Gas Control Legislation on Alaska Energy Prices and Consumer Costs

      Colt, Steve; Goldsmith, Scott; Larsen, Peter (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
      This memorandum is an update of a similar analysis that explores the possible economic effects on Alaska of proposed GHG control legislation. In this update we focus on a proposed bill that is similar to the “Bingaman-Specter Discussion Draft” that we discussed in March. The current proposal contains a $12/metric ton safety valve price ($12 refers to nominal dollars in year 2012) rather than a $7/metric ton price. Specifically, this analysis is based on a NEMS analysis provided to us by NCEP that is labeled $12 Safety Valve Case.” We shall refer to this proposal as “Bingaman-12.”
    • Use and Allocation of Natural Resources in the Chukotka Autonomous District

      Tichotsky, John (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
      Chukotka Autonomous District (Okrug) comprises the northeastern-most area of that part of the Soviet Union known as the "Far East". Chukotka can be used to refer to three different areas: the Chukotka Autonomous District (Okrug) is the entire North East half of the Magadan Province (oblast); the Chukotka Peninsula (sometimes written Chukotskyi) describes a geographic unit that is the northeastern peninsula of the Chukotka Autonomous District; and the Chukotka Region is an administrative unit equivalent to a county occupying the northern part of the Chukotka Peninsula. There has been a significant amount of American and Western travel on business, educational, cultural, medical and scientific exchanges in the past two years. Communications have been improved by the increased travel between the regions and the direct microwave link that provides for telephone calls between Alaska and the Soviet Far East at half the rate for calls between the rest of the United States and the Soviet Union.The United States and the Soviet Union have signed an agreement providing for visa-free travel by Soviet and Alaska Eskimos. Currently, the agreement has not been fully implemented and permission for Soviet natives for visa-free travel has been extended only to St.Lawrence Island, Kotzebue and Nome. This report provides geographic, demographic, historical, political, and resource development information that was current in 1991. A short summary report (ISER Research Summary No. 48) was developed based on this report.
    • The Value of Evidence-Based Computer Simulation of Oral Health Outcomes for Management Analysis of the Alaska Dental Health Aide Program

      Kiley, Daniel P.; Haley, Sharman; Saylor, Ben; Saylor, Brian L. (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-03)
      Objectives: To create an evidence‐based research tool to inform and guide policy and program managers as they develop and deploy new service delivery models for oral disease prevention and intervention. Methods: A village‐level discrete event simulation was developed to project outcomes associated with different service delivery patterns. Evidence‐ based outcomes were associated with dental health aide activities, and projected indicators (DMFT, F+ST, T‐health, SiC, CPI, ECC) were proxy for oral health outcomes. Model runs representing the planned program implementation, a more intensive staffing scenario, and a more robust prevention scenario, generated 20‐year projections of clinical indicators; graphs and tallies were analyzed for trends and differences. Results: Outcomes associated with alternative patterns of service delivery indicate there is potential for substantial improvement in clinical outcomes with modest program changes. Not all segments of the population derive equal benefit when program variables are altered. Children benefit more from increased prevention, while adults benefit more from intensive staffing. Conclusions: Evidence‐ based simulation is a useful tool to analyze the impact of changing program variables on program outcome measures. This simulation informs dental managers of the clinical outcomes associated with policy and service delivery variables. Simulation tools can assist public health managers in analyzing and understanding the relationship between their policy decisions and long‐term clinical outcomes.