• How Would$1,200 Per Person State Payments Compare With Increased Household Costs for Energy Use?

      Colt, Steve; Saylor, Ben (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-07-11)
      In the face of sharply rising energy costs, Alaska’s governor, Sarah Palin, has proposed to pay every Alaskan $1,200 to help cover those increased costs. The Alaska Legislature will be considering the governor’s proposal in the special session that began July 9. How would the proposed payments—about $3,300 for the average-size Alaska household—compare with recent increases in energy costs? We looked at that question and present our estimates here. But these truly are estimates, because there’s not much current information about the types and amounts of energy Alaska households use.
    • Kids Count Alaska 2006/2007

      Hanna, Virgene; Schreiner, Irma; DeRoche, Patricia; Lampman, Claudia (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-08)
      About This Year’s Book Every year the Kids Count Alaska data book reports on how the children of Alaska are doing. But we also like to tell readers a bit more about life in Alaska, to help them understand the place Alaska’s children call home. This year, we’re celebrating the wildlife that is so much a part of life in Alaska. Alaskans watch, hunt, photograph, and coexist with hundreds of large and small species of animals and birds. That coexistence is not always easy for either the wildlife or the people, but it is always interesting. An increasing number of tourists are also being drawn to Alaska for the opportunity to see wildlife that is either scarce or non-existent in other areas of the United States and the world. The whimsical wildlife illustrations on the cover and at the start of each indicator section are the work of Sebastian Amaya Garber, a talented young artist who grew up in Alaska but is now working toward a degree in industrial design at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. The flip side of each illustration describes something about the specific animals and birds we’re profiling, which are: The sea otter, whose rich fur brought the Russians to Alaska • in the century before the United States bought Alaska The brown bear, one of the most respected and feared land • animals in North America The raven, which plays a big role in Alaska Native culture and • is one of the smartest, toughest birds anywhere The puffin, whose large, yellow-orange bill and orange feet • make it a stand-out in Alaska’s coastal waters The moose, which can weigh up to 1,500 pounds and is • often seen wandering neighborhoods and crossing streets in Alaska’s largest urban areas The humpback whale, whose dramatic breaches make it a • favorite of Alaskans and visitors along the southern coast of Alaska in the summertime Whahat is Kids Count Alaska? Kids Count Alaska is part of a nationwide program, sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, to collect and publicize information about children’s health, safety, and economic status. We pull together information from many sources and present it all in one place. We hope this book gives Alaskans a broad picture of how the state’s children are doing and provides parents, policymakers, and others interested in the welfare of children with information they need to improve life for children and families. Our goals are: Broadly distributing information about the status of Alaska’s • children Creating an informed public, motivated to help children• Comparing the status of children in Alaska with children • nationwide, and presenting additional Alaska indicators (including regional breakdowns) when possible Who Are Alaska’s Children? More than 206,000 children ages 18 or younger live in Alaska—just under a third of Alaska’s 2006 population of about 671,000. That’s an increase of about 15% in the number of children since 1990. During the past 15 years the age structure of Alaska children has also changed, with younger children making up a declining share and teenagers a growing share. In 1990, children ages 4 or younger made up 31% of all children; by 2006 that share had dropped to 26%. Among those 15 to 18, the 1990 share was about 16%, but it had risen to 22% by 2006. Boys outnumber girls in Alaska by close to 6%. There are more boys than girls in every age group. Even among infants, boys outnumbered girls by 8% in 2006. Alaska’s children have also grown more racially diverse in the past two decades, as illustrated by the figure showing Alaska’s school children by race. In 1988, 68% of school children were White and 32% were from minorities—primarily Alaska Natives.
    • Alaska Community Fuel Use

      Saylor, Ben; Wilson, Meghan; Szymoniak, Nick; Fay, Ginny; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-10)
      The goal of this project was to estimate the amount of fuel used for space heating and electricity production by communities in Alaska. No comprehensive Alaska fuel use data exist at the community level. Community fuel consumption by type of fuel and end use is needed to estimate the potential economic benefits from demand- and supply-side investments in fuel use reduction projects. These investments include weatherization and housing stock improvements; improved lighting, appliance and space heating efficiencies; waste heat capture; electric interties, and alternative energy supply options such as wind and hydroelectric generation. Ultimately the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) and others can use this information to rank and select a suite of projects that provide the largest gains in fuel reductions at the lowest long-term costs and the highest returns on investment over the life of the projects. Study communities consisted of Power Cost Equalization (PCE) eligible communities. Communities in the North Slope Borough were excluded because fuel subsidies offered by the borough result in different patterns of energy use by households.
    • Connecting a Disjointed System: A First Look at Aligning Education in Alaska

      McDiarmid, G. Williamson; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-11)
      We’ve heard it before, but it’s still true: too many Alaska students don’t have the skills they need to move on to the next stage of education or to get good jobs. Too many drop out of high school, and too few of those who graduate go on to college or other post-secondary education—and among those who do go on to post-secondary education, many don’t graduate within four or even six years. Employers report that young people entering the work world directly after they graduate from high school (or right after they drop out) don’t have the reading, writing, and math skills necessary for many of today’s jobs, even entry-level ones. Alaska is not alone in these problems, but the high-school dropout rate is higher than the U.S. average and fewer graduates go to college. A third of Alaska’s high-school students don’t even graduate, and only about a third graduate and start college right away (Figure 1).
    • Economic Analysis of an Integrated Wind-Hydrogen Energy System for a Small Alaska Community

      Colt, Steve; Gilbert, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-12)
      Wind-hydrogen systems provide one way to store intermittent wind energy as hydrogen. We explored the hypothesis that an integrated wind-hydrogen system supplying electricity, heat, and transportation fuel could serve the needs of an isolated (off-grid) Alaska community at a lower cost than a collection of separate systems. Analysis indicates that: 1) Combustible Hydrogen could be produced with current technologies for direct use as a transportation fuel for about $15/gallon-equivalent; 2) The capital cost of the wind energy rather than the capital cost of electrolyzers dominates this high cost; and 3) There do not appear to be diseconomies of small scale for current electrolyzers serving a a village of 400 people.
    • What Drives The Alaska Economy?

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-12)
      What drives Alaska’s economy is new money: money coming in from outside the state. How big the economy is, and how much it grows, depends on how much new money comes in. New money comes from “basic” sectors— the sectors that are the basis for all jobs and income across Alaska. They are, in effect, the gears driving the economy. Alaska has eight main basic sectors, but the number of Alaskans they employ directly is small, compared with the number of jobs they support indirectly. Figure 1 shows numbers and shares of jobs for Alaskans that the federal government, the petroleum sector, and the other basic sectors generated on average between 2004 and 2006. The numbers for any specific period aren’t as important as the percentages, which don’t change much from year to year.
    • Alaska’s Construction Spending 2009 Forecast

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Killorin, Mary (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-01)
      construction spending “on the street” in Alaska in 2009 will be $7.1 billion, down 3% from 2008.1,2,3 Lower construction spending, combined with higher material and labor costs, will result in a modest reduction in the level of construction employment in 2009. Although this will be the fourth year of decline, the level remains considerably above the long-term average. Excluding the oil and gas sector—which accounts for 43% of the total—construction spending will be $4.1 billion—down 1% from 2008. Private-sector construction spending will follow the slowdown in the Alaska economy. Excluding oil and gas, we expect private spending to be $1.3 billion in 2009, a decline of 24% from 2008. But strength in the oil and gas sector will keep the overall private sector decline to only 12%. Mining, utilities, and commercial spending will be down, mostly because a number of large projects have been completed. However, commercial —as well as residential— spending will be weaker, in response to the slowdown in the U.S. economy. Public construction spending will be up 16%, to $2.7 billion, offsetting much of the decline in private spending. That growth will mainly be due to the large FY 2009 state capital budget. But strong federal spending— both military and civilian— and the federal stimulus package will also contribute to the increase. Uncertainty in this year’s forecast comes from several sources. Volatility in commodity prices has affected construction spending in two important ways. The lower petroleum and metals prices in early 2009 have made investment in some prospects less attractive. Also, companies that finance construction activities out of their current cash flow are dealing with shrinking capital budgets. The national economy continues to deteriorate as we enter 2009. Consumers are cutting back on expenditures, and businesses are reducing their capital spending. Credit has become more difficult— if not impossible—to obtain, and the unemployment rate continues to rise. Economists anticipate a long and deep recession at least through 2009 and perhaps beyond. The federal government has stepped in to try to loosen credit markets, so far with only limited success, and we anticipate that early in the year Congress will pass a large stimulus package, perhaps reaching $1 trillion. The Alaska economy has felt few ill effects from the recession ravaging the rest of the nation, but as the recession continues and deepens, Alaska is expected to begin to suffer as well. Resource industries may cut back on their development activities, and businesses may postpone new investments. Consumers may reduce spending. Credit may remain difficult to get, for both the private and public sectors.
    • Study of the Components of Delivered Fuel Costs in Alaska: January 2009 Update

      Fay, Ginny; Saylor, Ben; Szymoniak, Nick; Wilson, Meghan; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-01)
      This is an update of our previous report titled “Components of Delivered Fuel Prices in Alaska.”1 We provide more recent data on actual fuel prices in ten rural communities that we first examined in fall 2007. Rural communities across Alaska face extremely high fuel prices. People in these remote, cold places need large quantities of fuel for heat, electricity, and transportation. The estimated household cost for energy use in remote rural Alaska has increased significantly since 2000—increasing from approximately 16% of total household income to 47% in 2008 for the lowest income households. It is a higher portion of income for all income levels in remote rural Alaska as compared to Anchorage.2 In addition to the high price of fuel in rural Alaska, villages and communities have high unemployment rates, limited local economic bases, and local governments that are struggling to provide basic services to residents and businesses.3 A 2008 report done by the Alaska Division of Community Advocacy stated that the price of gasoline in 100 Alaska communities ranged from $2.75 (Fairbanks) to $9.00 (Arctic Village) per gallon with a mean of $5.80.4 In many areas of Alaska, transporting bulk fuel by air, barge, truck or a combination of these methods increases the price of fuel, most of which must be purchased prior to “freeze up” in cold winter months in order to allow time for delivery to remote villages. High remote rural fuel prices appear to be the result of a number of factors. These include high transportation costs to remote locations, limited and costly storage, small market size, and the financing costs associated with holding large inventories. The main purpose of this research is to identify the components of the cost of delivered fuel across rural Alaska. By understanding these cost components, it may be possible to identify opportunities to address them and reduce the overall cost of fuel.
    • The Cost of Crime: Could The State Reduce Future Crime and Save Money by Expanding Education and Treatment Programs ?

      Martin, Stephanie; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-01)
      Alaska’s prison population is among the fastest-growing in the U.S., with five times more inmates in 2007 than in 1981. Spending for the state justice system has nearly doubled since 1981—but the crime rate has dropped only about 30%. Here’s the dilemma for the state, given the pattern shown in Figure 1: what can it do to hold down the number of inmates and stem the rising costs—while at the same time keeping the public safe and using tax dollars effectively? Senator Hollis French asked ISER to project growth in the number of Alaska inmates and the associated costs—and then evaluate whether the state could reduce that growth by expanding intervention and prevention programs for people already in prison or at risk of ending up there. Alaska currently spends about $17 million a year for such programs, but they aren’t available to many of those who might benefit from them.
    • Alaska without Petroleum: A Preliminary Run of a Gendanken Experiment

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-03)
      For the purposes of this study, I have used a simple economic base model to describe the structure of the Alaska economy.1 In the model each component of the economic base (the economic drivers) supports a certain number of jobs and generates a certain amount of personal income, not only directly but also through indirect and induced effects. All of the jobs and income in the economy are then accounted for when the contribution of each component of the economic base is included. The jobs and income attributed to a component of the economic base represents the potential loss to the economy if that part of the base were to disappear. For example, mining is an important industry in Alaska, consisting almost entirely of primary production for export outside the state. The contribution of the mining sector to total Alaska employment consists of miners as well as workers at Alaskan businesses that supply goods and services to the mining industry and workers at Alaskan businesses that supply goods and services to the families of the miners and workers at the Alaskan supplier businesses. If all of the mines in the state were to close, the loss in jobs and income would include those at the businesses supplying the mines and the families of the workers.
    • How Hard Is It for Alaska’s Medicare Patients to Find Family Doctors?

      Frazier, Rosyland; Foster, Mark A. (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-03)
      In the past few years, Alaskans have been hearing reports that some primary-care doctors won’t see new Medicare patients. Medicare pays these doctors only about two-thirds of what private insurance pays—and that’s after a sizable increase in 2009. But most Americans 65 or older have to use Medicare as their main insurance, even if they also have private insurance. Just how widespread is the problem of Alaska’s primary-care doctors turning away Medicare patients? ISER surveyed hundreds of doctors to find out—and learned that so far there’s a major problem in Anchorage, a noticeable problem in the Mat-Su Borough and Fairbanks, and almost no problem in other 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.
    • An Exploration of Experiences and Outcomes of Alaska Native Graduates of Mt. Edgecumbe High School

      Hirshberg, Diane; DelMoral, Brit (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-04)
      In Alaska’s schools, indigenous1 students are the most at risk of any ethnic group of failing to thrive; they drop out more frequently, are less likely to graduate, and generally have lower educational attainment than non-Native students(Martin and Hill, 2009). Indeed, the situation appears to be worsening. The dropout rate of Alaska Native students living in all areas of Alaska besides Anchorage has risen from 0.7 percent in 1996 to 3.3 percent in 2001 (Goldsmith et al. 2004). Dropout rates among all Native students in Alaska increased from 5 percent to almost 10 percent between 1998 and 2001, while the dropout rate among non-Native students increased from about 3 percent to 5 percent (ibid). In addition, low test scores are preventing many students from graduating from high school—almost half of Alaska Native students are not passing the reading section of the High-School Graduation Qualifying Exam. The educational system in Alaska is failing to provide Alaska Native students the skills necessary either for postsecondary academic work or success in the job market, if that is what they desire. However, one secondary school, Mt. Edgecumbe High School, a boarding school located in Southeast Alaska that serves predominately rural and Alaska Native students, has produced students that consistently outperform their peers, both indigenous and non- Native. The reputation of the school has been strong for decades, based on both historic and recent accomplishments of its alumni. However, the experiences of recent alumni at the school and their professional and educational attainment after high school had not been looked at systematically for a number of years. This paper is the result of a study conducted by the authors on recent graduates of Mt. Edgecumbe High School (MEHS), at the suggestion of school administrators. Our case study attempts to capture the educational, social, and cultural experiences of the students while they attended the boarding school, and the impacts the school has had on their lives. With this research we hope to inform the decisions o f policymakers and educators, indigenous and non-Native alike, regarding rural secondary schooling options in Alaska for indigenous children across the state.
    • Kids Count Alaska 2008

      Hanna, Virgene; Leask, Linda; Lampman, Claudia; Schreiner, Irma; DeRoche, Patricia (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-05)
      We’re pleased to announce that Kids Count Alaska is part of a new site, the Kids Count Data Center (datacenter.kidscount.org). Developed by the KIDS COUNT national program, the site gives easy access to data on children and teenagers for every state and hundreds of cities and counties across the country. For Alaska, you can select indicators for each of the state’s seven regions and create your own maps, trend lines, and charts. There are also maps and graphs you can put on your Web site or blog. You can go directly to that national site, or you can link from our Web site (www.kidscount.alaska.edu). We hope you’ll find the new data and features helpful. This book and all previous data books are available on our Web site, and each data book is divided into sections for faster downloading. Also on our site is a link to the most recent national KIDS COUNT data book, as well as to other publications and reports. About This Year’s Book Alaska is celebrating 50 years as a state in 2009—and as part of the celebration, we decided to illustrate this year’s data book with historic photos of Alaska’s children before statehood. We also used information from the U.S. Census Bureau to take a broad look at how conditions have changed for Alaska’s children since statehood. In the Highlights at the end of this section (pages 7 to 10) you’ll find some comparisons of the social and economic wellbeing of children in Alaska in 1959 and today. What is Kids Count Alaska? Kids Count Alaska is part of a nationwide program, sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, to collect and publicize information about children’s health, safety, and economic status. We pull together information from many sources and present it all in one place. We hope this book gives Alaskans a broad picture of how the state’s children are doing and provides parents, policymakers, and others interested in the welfare of children with information they need to improve life for children and families. Our goals are: • Distributing information about the status of Alaska’s children • Creating an informed public, motivated to help children • Comparing the status of children in Alaska with children nationwide, and presenting additional Alaska indicators (including regional breakdowns) when possible
    • Health Effects of Indoor-Air Benzene in Anchorage Residences: A Study of Indoor-Air Quality in Houses with Attached Garages

      Gordian, Mary Ellen; Frazier, Rosyland; Hill, Alexandra; Schreiner, Irma; Siver, Darla; Stewart, Alistair; Morris, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-06)
      Benzene is a known carcinogen. It affects white blood cells; it causes leukemia and aplastic anemia. It may also affect the immune system which is dependent on white blood cells.1 It has been removed from all household products, but it is still present in gasoline. Alaskan gasoline is particularly high in benzene (>5%). Gasoline refined in Alaska has high concentrations of benzene and other the aromatic compounds as much as 50% aromatics by volume. Leaving the aromatics in the gasoline helps cars start in the cold, but it also puts high concentrations of benzene in both the ambient and indoor air. We already knew from previous work done in Alaska by Bernard Goldstein in Valdez2 and the Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services in Anchorage3 that people were exposed to high ambient levels of benzene in the winter, and that there were high indoor benzene concentrations in homes with attached garages if the garage was used to store gasoline or gasoline powered engines. Benzene does not bioaccumulate in the body as dioxin or some pesticides do. But are its effects cumulative? Does a little dose of benzene everyday have the same effect as a large dose over less time? Benzene reduces CD4 cells in a dose-response manner at workplace concentrations less than 1 ppm (OSHA 8-hour exposure limit) in workers.4 People who live in homes with high benzene concentrations may be exposed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There have been no studies of health effects of such environmental exposure to benzene. This study was done to determine three things: 1. What percentage of Anchorage homes with attached garages had high levels of indoor benzene? 2. Were the high levels of indoor benzene affecting the health of the residents? 3. Were residents more likely to develop asthma in homes with high levels of indoor benzene?
    • Benefits of the Cook Inlet Ferry to the Municipality of Anchorage

      Szymoniak, Nick; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-06-30)
      The purpose of this study is to examine the economic benefits of the Cook Inlet Ferry to the Municipality of Anchorage. The Cook Inlet Ferry is currently being built at the Ketchikan, Alaska shipyard. The U.S. Navy has financed construction of the ferry as a prototype military landing craft for northern, ice-filled waters. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough paid for Ferry engineering, design, and outfitting with federal transit monies. Following short-term Navy testing of the craft, it will be transferred to the Borough to provide ferry service in Cook Inlet. The Borough will provide operating and maintenance information to the Navy on an ongoing basis. The Borough will operate the ferry, which will provide regular service between Anchorage and Port MacKenzie as well as service to other points on Cook Inlet. The Ferry is expected to be operational by 2010.
    • The Changing Economic Status of Alaska Natives, 1970-2007

      Martin, Stephanie; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-07)
      Forty years ago—when the discovery of North Slope oil was about to transform Alaska’s economy— Alaska Natives had among the lowest income, employment, and education levels in the U.S. Today their economic conditions are better, but they still fall considerably below averages among other Alaskans and other Americans. This note first reports how current economic conditions among Alaska Natives compare with U.S. averages, and then looks at changes since 1970 in poverty, employment, income, and education levels among Alaska Natives. We relied mainly on data from federal censuses in 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 and from the annual American Community Survey for 2005 to 2007. We also used the most recent population estimates from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.1
    • Benefits of Alaska Native Corporations and the SBA 8(a) Program to Alaska Natives and Alaska

      Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage; Haley, Sharman; Fay, Ginny; Ainsworth, Joel; Angvik, Jane; Hill, Alexandra; Martin, Stephanie (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-07-07)
      Senator Begich’s office asked ISER for assistance assembling information to document the social and economic status of Alaska Natives and the benefits of the 8(a) program. His purpose is to brief Missouri Senator McCaskill and her committee which is reviewing the status of ANC contracts awarded under SBA’s 8(a) program. This review was triggered by a 2006 GAO report recommending increased SBA oversight to 8(a) contracting activity. Highlights of the GAO report are provided in Tab A.1; a letter dated May 15, 2009, from Senators Begich and Murkowski to Sentaor McCaskill, outlining their concerns is provided in Tab A.2. As the Congressional Research Service report (Tab A.3) explains, the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program targeting socially and economically disadvantaged individuals was operating under executive authority from about 1970, and under statutory authority starting in 1978. A series of amendments from 1986 to 1992 recognized Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) as socially and economically disadvantaged for purposes of program eligibility, exempted them from limitations on the number of qualifying subsidiaries, from some restrictions on size and minimum time in business, and from the ceiling on amounts for sole-source contracts. Between 1988 and 2005, the number of 8(a) qualified ANC subsidiaries grew from one to 154 subsidiaries owned by 49 ANCs. The dollar amount of 8(a) contracts to ANCs grew from $265 million in FY 2000 to $1.1 billion in 2004, approximately 80 percent of which was in sole-source contracts. (GAO Highlights, Tab A.1) The remainder of this briefing book is divided in three sections. Section 2 addresses changes in the social and economic status of Alaska Natives from 1970--the year before the enactment of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the subsequent creation of the ANCs--to the present. ISER’s report on the “Status of Alaska Natives 2004” (Tab B.1) finds that despite really significant improvements in social and economic conditions among Alaska Natives, they still lag well behind other Alaskans in employment, income, education, health status and living conditions. A collection of more recent analyses updates the social and economic indicators to 2008. There were many concurrent changes throughout this dynamic period of Alaska’s history and we cannot attribute all the improvements to the ANCs, though it is clear that they play an important catalyst role. In the final part of section 2 we attempt to provide some historical context for understanding the role ANCs have played in improving the well-being of Alaska Natives. Section C. documents the growth in ANCs and their contributions to Alaska Native employment, income, social and cultural programs and wellbeing, and their major contributions to the Alaska economy and society overall. Section D. Looks specifically at the 8(a) program. Although there are a handful of 8(a) firms with large federal contracts, the majority are small, village-based corporations engaged in enterprise development in very challenging conditions. A collection of six case studies illustrate the barriers to business development these small firms face and the critical leverage that 8(a) contracting offers them.
    • Economic Importance of Sportfishing in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough

      Colt, Steve; Schwörer, Tobias (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-08-31)
      We have estimated the economic benefits of sport fishing activity occurring within the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough, using data from year 2007. Our estimates are based on the recent study entitled, Economic Impacts and Contributions of Sportfishing in Alaska, 2007. 2 It contains estimates of angler spending patterns within three regions: Southcentral, Interior, and Southeast. We also used year 2007 data from the ADFG annual Statewide Harvest Survey (SWHS).3 These data allow us to allocate economic benefits to the Mat-Su Borough.
    • Alaska’s People and Economy, 1867-2009

      Leask, Linda; Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Knapp, Gunnar; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-09)
      Utterly worthless. That’s how a congressman from Missouri described Alaska in 1867, when the U.S. bought it from Russia. A lot of Americans agreed. For almost 100 years, hardly anyone— except some Alaskans—wanted Alaska to become a state. But Alaska did finally become a state, in 1959. Today, after 142 years as a U.S. possession and 50 years as a state, Alaska has produced resources worth (in today’s dollars) around $670 billion. The U.S. paid $7.2 million for Alaska, equal to about $106 million now. For perspective, that’s roughly what the state government collected in royalties from oil produced on state-owned land in just the month of March 2009. To help mark 50 years of statehood, this publication first takes a broad look at what’s changed in Alaska since 1959. That’s on this page and the back page. We’ve also put together a timeline of political and economic events in Alaska from 1867 to the present. That’s on the inside pages. There’s an interactive version of the timeline—with photos, figures, and more—on ISER’s Web site: www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu.