• 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.
    • Measured Energy Savings from the Alaska Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program

      Brooks, Linda; Holleman, Marybeth; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1993)
      The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) asked the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) to conduct a evaluation of the actual energy savings achieved by the Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program. This effort represents one of the first formal attempts to quantify savings from weatherization programs in Alaska on a large scale. This study was limited by design to houses heated piped natural gas. We have divided our study into two phases. In Phase One, we used the PRISM software system to measure overall savings for a group of homes. In PhaseTwo, we plan to explore the effectiveness of particular weatherization measures and other sources of energy saving such as behavioral changes, new occupants, and physical changes to the housing unit. This report presents preliminary results of the Phase One PRISM analysis.
    • Measured Energy Savings from Weatherization Alaska vs. National Results

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
      This memorandum reviews the differences in measured energy savings from 102 Alaska weatherized homes (ISER 1993) compared with savings from a "cold-climate" region of the United States (ORNL 1993). The National study found a significantly higher level of gross energy saving (12.5%) in its sample of 1040 gas-heated homes than the Alaska study found in is sample of 102 homes. Alaska' lower level of percentage gas savings, relative to the US cold-climate region, cannot be attributed to differences in sampling, data retention, or analytical technique using PRISM. When measured by gas consumption per degree-day, the Alaska sample of weatherized homes appears to have higher thermal integrity prior to weatherization. From different starting points, both Alaska and US single-family homes appear to be achieving a post-weatherization thermal integrity of about .155 cf per degree-day. Alaska mobile homes reach a roughly similar final level of .142 ccf per HDD, commensurate with their smaller size.
    • Measuring and Correcting Response Heaping Arising From the Use of Prototypes

      Schmidt, Jennifer; Beaman, Jay; Vaske, Jerry; Huan, Tzung-Cheng (Taylor and Francis, 2015-04-01)
      Imprecision in respondent recall can cause response heaping in frequency data for particular values (e.g., 5, 10, 15). In human dimensions research, heaping can occur for variables such as days of participation (e.g., hunting, fishing), animals/fish harvested, or money spent on licenses. Distributions with heaps can bias population estimates because the means and totals can be inflated or deflated. Because bias can result in poor management decisions, determining if the bias is large enough to matter is important. This note introduces the logic and flow of a deheaping program that estimates bias in means and totals when people use approximate responses (i.e., prototypes). The program can make estimates even when spikes occur due to bag limits. The program is available online, and smooths heaps at multiples of 5 (numbers ending in 5 and 0) and 7 (e.g., 7, 14, 21), and produces standard deviations in estimates.
    • Mechanisms matter for evaluating the economic impacts of marine reserves

      Reimer, Matthew (ScienceDirect, 2018-03-01)
      Large areas of marine and coastal environments have been protected to satisfy diverse policy goals, but there has been limited work understanding the economic impacts of such closures. While methods for establishing causal impacts are prevalent, less attention has been paid to explaining the mechanisms through which the causal relationship came to be. Understanding mechanisms is crucial for designing policies that foster the mechanisms that achieve the intended objectives of marine reserves and mitigate the mechanisms that do not. We estimate the treatment effect of a large marine reserve on the net earnings of a commercial fishery using difference-in-differences and synthetic-control designs, and decompose the treatment effect into its constituent mechanisms through structural equation modeling. We find minimal evidence that closing the marine reserve to fishing had a significant economic cost for the industry; however, several counteracting mechanisms are critical for explaining the effect and for generalizing to other settings.
    • Memorandum on the Economic and Demographic Impacts of a Knik Arm Bridge

      Goldsmith, Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
      The base case projection for the economy and population of the state is very similar to the base case projection prepared in 2004 for the Alaska Railbelt electric utilities and published in the document entitled Economic Projections for Alaska and the Southern Railbelt 2004-2030 (ISER, November 2004). A comparison of the major state economic and demographic variables for the two projections is presented in a later chapter of this memorandum. The major difference between the two projections at the state level results from differences in the scenario assumptions driving the projections, as well as some revisions and recalibrations of the model used in the projections. The scenario assumptions driving the base case, as well as the high and low case projections for this study, are presented in a later chapter....Major differences between the current base case and the 2004 base case result from inclusion of ANWR production and gas line construction in the current base case. Prepared for Northern Economics as input to Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority [KABATA] Environmental Impact Statement "
    • Methods and Approaches for Sustainable Development in Alaska

      Larson, Eric (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1998)
      Over the past ten years, sustainable development has been popularized by programs such as the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, the United Nation’s Agenda 21, and other sustainable development programs and initiatives in many countries, U.S. states and regions, and hundreds of American communities. These programs and initiatives have interpreted sustainability differently and tried different approaches and methods with varying success. We reviewed a selection of these programs to learn what methods and approaches have proven useful. In this report we summarize what we learned from our review and offer suggestions about how sustainable development could emerge in Alaska. In Part II of this report, we define what we mean by sustainable development and describe the major issues debated in sustainable development programs. In Part III, we identify several sustainable development approaches that may be applicable in Alaska.
    • Methods for Rural / Non-Rural Determinations for Federal Subsistence Management in Alaska - Final and Summary Reports

      Wolfe, Robert; Fischer, Victor (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2003)
      This report presents alternative methodologies for identifying rural and non-rural areas for federal subsistence management in Alaska. It is the final report for the project, Rural/Non-Rural Determinations for Federal Subsistence Management in Alaska (Contract No. 701811CO58), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Region. The project was a joint research effort of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and Robert J. Wolfe and Associates. The report develops two alternative methodologies for distinguishing rural and non-rural populations in Alaska for federal subsistence management. The methodologies use measures drawn from the federal decennial census and the State of Alaska’s harvest records, among other relevant data sources. An overriding goal of the project was to use a minimal number of criteria that clearly, effectively, and defensibly distinguish between rural and non-rural populations. The two methodologies are tested on a selection of Alaska communities.
    • Migration and Oil Industry Employment of North Slope Alaska Natives

      Marshall, David (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1/1/1993)