• Addressing student performance in the classroom: a case study of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Supplemental Instruction Program

      Englert, Alyssa; Little, Joseph; Wright, Christopher; Baek, Jungho (2016-05)
      The Supplemental Instruction (SI) program, developed and headquartered at the University of Missouri Kansas City, is a peer-to-peer mentorship program that seeks to aid post-secondary education students in passing historically difficult courses. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Supplemental Instruction program was established in 2003, and to date no external study has been completed as to its effectiveness despite the university’s unique student population. To empirically evaluate the program’s main user groups and impact on final course grade, three models were created: a probit model identified the demographic factors that led to a student self-selecting to participate; a negative binomial regression model was used to predict the number of SI sessions students attended; and an ordered probit model quantified the effect of SI attendance on final course grades. The results suggest that the program had a positive impact on final grades, with SI attendees being approximately 92% more likely to receive an A, and 94% less likely to receive a D or an F, than non-attendees. Older and married students were consistently found to be more likely to participate, as were students with large high school grade point averages. However, minority males were found to be almost 9% less likely to participate in SI than their white male counterparts.
    • Alaska Native corporations, the long run

      Snigaroff, Robert G.; Baek, Jungho; Little, Joseph; Koskey, Michael; Williams, Maria; Zhou, Thomas (2019-08)
      Alaska Native Corporations as formed by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) have existed for almost fifty years. As with all businesses, their results are mixed. Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) are unique. After a brief overview of ANCs' results, I study several issues that pertain to them in a manuscript format with several chapters. Business stability and longevity are crucial for ANCs, and I discuss that, given a common mission of ANCs for cultural continuation. While most of the following is a positive analysis, I also make a normative strategy argument: ANCs should make larger portions of their economic activity in the form of endowment models. A separate matter is many ANCs have portfolios of diversified operating businesses. I review other investors' results in private equity investments opportunities. The average investor has done fairly poorly. This provides a cautionary warning to the pursuit of such strategies for ANCs and other institutional investors. Another business model alternative for ANCs are endowment models with marketable securities, hence, I study stock return characteristics. Interestingly, the way stocks can be broken out into their core return components allows study of an ANC issue. Alaska Native shareholders have made a trade-off between cultural continuation and higher monetary value realization if they did sell their shares. Of the approximately one hundred fifty ANCs, none has done so. Marketable security returns partly consist of a liquidity component. That has applicability to ANCs as they have willingly ceded the liquidity value of their shares for their goal of cultural continuation.
    • Alaska's ice roads and investment decision in drilling: an empirical analysis

      Azmi Wendler, Sarah; Baek, Jungho; Reynolds, Douglas B.; Herrmann, Mark (2019-08)
      This thesis applies Autoregressive Distributed Lag modeling techniques to estimate the effects of ice road season lengths on exploration activities in Alaska within the North Slope. This analysis uses data on winter off-road travel from 2001-2018 in monthly intervals against exploration wells spudded. It is found that while ice roads do not affect overall drilling activities in the North Slope, the lengths of the season plays significant part in exploration of new fields. While this subject has become a popular subject due to variations in the ice road season, no similar statistical analysis has been conducted to date. Oil prices, production and Alaska's oil policy were also found to be important variables in characterizing exploration activity.
    • Alaska's Quality Schools Initiative: A Description And Analysis Of 51 Schools' Perceived Strengths And Weaknesses In Factors Associated With Organizational Change

      Mckinny, Betty Jean; Porter, David O. (2003)
      This descriptive study of 51 schools in Alaska examined how educational personnel are responding to the Alaskan Quality Schools Initiative. While research-identifying factors that accelerate or impede general change in organizations already exist, little research has been done in Alaska to assess personnel's attitudes and beliefs about standards-based education. Past school reforms have only experienced moderate success. This study shows that standards-based instruction is perceived by both rural and urban Alaskan educators to be a reform that could make improved achievement a reality. A questionnaire was designed and administered to educational personnel assessing present readiness to implement standards-based education and identifying factors which influenced past implementations of change. Profiles of schools, districts, and the state, reveal factors that may limit or expedite the implementation. Findings indicate that overall past educational change initiatives have been mismanaged. The state scores fall in the low moderate range 60.9 based on Implementation Management Associates Scale of 0--100. In regard to readiness to change the participating schools' scores fall in the moderate range (65.3). The majority of respondents believe that there is a high probability of successful implementation. They see a need and purpose for standards-based education. Personnel valued standards and believed that they were compatible with personal and organization values. Surveyed respondents were confident about the ability to change and were willing to focus on new approaches. The majority indicates the need for more resources and support. A predominant theme in the findings was that organizational stress is very high and personnel are concerned about the adverse effect this change may bring to their jobs. Past reform initiatives have not been aligned with the culture of the school or district. Ineffective communication coupled with low motivation and inadequate incentives has limited implementation efforts. Due to perceived lack of resources and expertise the majority of respondents question whether or not this initiative will be successful. Most rural schools, which have been characterized as widely resistant to change, were found to be more optimistic about change and had fewer barriers to overcome than urban schools.
    • Aligning electricity energy policies in Alaska: analysis of the power cost equalization and renewable energy fund programs

      Villalobos Meléndez, Alejandra; Little, Joseph; Huskey, Lee; Baek, Jungho (2012-05)
      Most rural Alaska communities are not road connected and must cope with challenging arctic environmental conditions. Due to their remoteness and sparse populations, these villages depend on isolated non-grid connected electric generation systems that operate on fuel oil. In Alaska, the Power Cost Equalization program is a 25 year long energy subsidy that targets rural residents to provide energy costs relief. A more recent state incentive program, the Renewable Energy Fund, was developed to expand the use of renewable resources and lower the cost of energy. Some rural communities have benefited from this program and have integrated renewable energy to their systems, particularly installing Wind-Diesel systems. Both programs have congruent goals of alleviating dependence on high cost fossil fuels to generate electricity as means to foster development and higher quality of life in rural Alaska communities. However, their incentive structure may conflict. This paper provides a review of these two energy subsidy policies with a particular focus on the Power Cost Equalization program and offers potential changes to its structure such that social cost impacts to rural residents are minimized while removing incentive barriers against energy efficiency and integration of renewable energy in rural Alaska communities.
    • Analysis of energy consumption on the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis in the United States: does renewable energy play a role?

      Ohnesorge, Michelle; Little, Joseph; Baek, Jungho; Greenberg, Joshua (2018-05)
      Using CO₂ emissions as a representation of environmental degradation an empirical econometric analysis is conducted to see if there is evidence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve in the United States and if renewable energy consumption plays a significant role in CO₂ emission mitigation. The renewable energy consumption variable was broken down further to isolate geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, solar, and wind energy consumption and explore their role in the analysis. An Auto-Regressive Distributed Lag approach to cointegration with Pooled Mean Groups and Mean Groups estimations was used on U.S. state (including District of Columbia) specific data from 1987 to 2015 to calculate the long and short run results that would support an Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis. The panel of states was divided into low, medium, and high GDP brackets as disaggregate models and those were examined along with a model of the entire United States. Evidence for an Environmental Kuznets Curve for the United States could not be established in the aggregate model, however it was found that renewable energy consumption did have a negative coefficient, which indicates CO₂ emission mitigation through renewable energy consumption. Out of the individual renewable energy consumption variables tested, only wind energy consumption was found to be statistically significant while the model also exhibited evidence to support an Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis in this aggregate model. Looking at the different GDP state brackets, low GDP states were the only bracket that yielded evidence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve in the disaggregate models. For estimations with the low GDP states bracket looking at the individual renewable energy consumption variables, hydroelectric, biomass, solar, and wind energy consumption variables were statistically significant as well. The medium GDP bracket states aggregate model did not yield conclusive results, stemming from the lack of slope in the GDP variable for this model. Out of the individual renewable energy consumption variables tested in the subset, biomass was the only energy consumption to be statistically significant while the model exhibited evidence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve. The high GDP bracket aggregate model did not yield results showing evidence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve, while the individual renewable energy consumption variable subset models geothermal and wind energy consumption were statistically significant within models showing evidence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve. Breaking out these separate renewable energy consumption variables in an Environmental Kuznets Curve analysis can provide empirical support for policy and investment in specific renewable energy technology.
    • Analyzing factors affecting Alaska's salmon permit values: evidence from Bristol Bay drift gillnet permits

      Wood, Mackenzie D.; Baek, Jungho; Little, Joseph; Greenberg, Joshua (2017-05)
      The effects of total earnings, total costs and mining exploration on permit prices in Alaska are investigated using an autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach to cointegration. I take specific account of regional and gear specific salmon fisheries -- that is, Bristol Bay drift gillnet permits -- in our modelling. I find that there is a stable long-run relationship among permit prices, total earnings, and total costs. It is also found that, in both the short- and long-run, total earnings have a positive and significant relationship with permit prices, while total costs have a negative and significant relationship. Although the mining exploration in the region has a negative and significant effect on permit prices in the short-run, the effect does not seem to last in the long-run.
    • Beaver Creek National Wild River: economic valuation of recreation

      Lang, Lumir; Little, Joseph; Valcic, Branka; Johnsen, James (2009-05)
      "This research examines economic values associated with recreation at Beaver Creek National Wild River (NWR) of Interior Alaska. Recreational activities are the focus of the economic valuation. Two methods, benefit transfer and a survey, are conducted. A Benefit Transfer Method is employed using a database of studies containing values of recreational activities in the U.S.A Survey, performed in summer of 2008, is used to examine the characteristics and values at Beaver Creek NWR. Upon conclusion of the obtained present values of the recreational activities, scenarios are developed to comprehend the future values and changes in recreation at Beaver Creek NWR"--Leaf iii
    • Can tax policy change exploration levels? A case of Alaska oil legislation.

      Tappen, Samuel Weston; Baek, Jungho; Little, Joseph; Reynolds, Douglas (2014-08)
      This thesis applies modern Autoregressive Distributed Lag modeling techniques to estimate the effects of oil tax policy in the case of the 2007 ACES legislation on exploratory drilling within Alaska. This analysis uses recently released public data to examine the period of 1986 to 2013 in quarterly intervals which includes all periods in which ACES was in place. While this subject has become a popular subject of debate within the state and industry, no similar statistical analysis has been conducted to date. According to the results, ACES had a significantly negative and lasting effect on exploration levels while it was in effect. The oil price and interest rate are also found to be important variables in characterizing exploration activity.
    • Commodity definition and content validity in stated preference valuation: a meta-analysis of water quality welfare estimates

      Hansen, Jamie Arnett; Little, Joseph; Fix, Peter; Baek, Jungho (2013-05)
      This paper applies a meta-analysis to investigate variation in willingness to pay estimates that arise from the use of different commodity descriptions in stated preference valuation surveys. To maintain commodity consistency, the data set for this meta-analysis is composed of willingness to pay estimates from contingent valuation, conjoint analysis, and choice experiment studies valuing water quality change in surface water bodies in the United States. The analysis uses an ordinary least squares regression with a cluster command to correct for potential correlation between observations drawn from the same study. The primary contribution of this study is the identification of systematic variation across stated preference studies resulting from changes in how the environmental commodity is presented and defined. By identifying the directional effect of these differences, this analysis provides insight into interpreting stated preference estimates and guidance for producing well-designed stated preference studies capable of eliminating bias and context effects.
    • Determinants of anglers willingness to pay to support the Recreational Quota Entity program

      Mitchell, McKenzie; Little, Joseph; Criddle, Keith; Greenberg, Joshua; Hermann, Mark (2019-05)
      This study applies data from a web-based survey administered to Alaska sport fish license holders in 2017 to examine the newly introduced Recreational Quota Entity (RQE) program in Alaska's guided halibut sport fishery and the possibility of increasing halibut available to sport anglers by funding this program through a state-endorsed halibut stamp. Two valuation questions were randomized amongst the survey sample. The questions were designed to elicit willingness to pay (WTP) for a halibut stamp in support of the RQE program under (1) status quo halibut fishing regulations (2) more relaxed charter halibut fishing regulations made possible through revenues from halibut stamp sales. The need for two valuation questions is in response to the many factors that would ultimately determine the degree to which charter fishing regulations could be relaxed and the time needed for regulatory change made possible through revenues from halibut stamp sales. The findings indicate that non-resident anglers and resident anglers have a very similar WTP for a state-endorsed halibut stamp and that anglers are willing to pay for a halibut stamp despite having little or no history of participation in the halibut fishery. The pairwise comparison among mean WTP estimates from both valuation questions indicates that differences in anglers' WTP are inconsequential. Findings suggest that the WTP for a state-endorsed halibut stamp reflects an interest in preserving access to the fishery or the value of reserving an option to participate in the halibut fishery. Respondent education level and employment status were found to be statistically significant determinants of anglers' willingness to pay for a state-endorsed halibut stamp to support the RQE program.
    • Dichotomous choice contingent valuation willingness to pay estimates across geographically nested samples: case study of Alaskan Steller sea lion

      Turcin, Branka (2001-12)
      This thesis examines Willingness-to-Pay (WTP) for an endangered species across geographically nested samples using the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM). The samples range from the boroughs that contain critical habitat for the Steller sea lion to the state that contains these boroughs to the entire United States. Depending on the assumptions of the model, WTP varies tremendously from sample to sample. When WTP is unrestricted to the non-negative region, mean WTP for the United States is the highest and it is the lowest for the boroughs. The null hypotheses that mean WTP estimates are greater than zero were rejected for the boroughs and the state but it was not rejected for the United States based on the 95% confidence intervals. When WTP is restricted to the non-negative region, the WTP does not differ significantly from sample to sample. The estimation results may lead to dramatically different policy implications.
    • An econometric analysis of global salmon market prices and its implications for the Alaska wild salmon industry

      Holzinger, Abby C. (2007-05)
      The Alaska wild salmon industry has gone through a period of low prices and changing markets in the past two decades. Average exvessel prices have dropped from $1.46 per pound in 1988 to $0.35 per pound in 2005, due in large part to increased volume of farmed salmon and marine-reared rainbow trout. This thesis examines the potential price and revenue effects from the interaction between wild Alaskan salmon and anticipated production increases of farmed salmon from Chile. To investigate these linkages I developed an international simultaneous equilibrium market model for wild and farmed salmon and marine-reared rainbow trout. While world-wide farmed salmon (and trout) and the various wild Alaskan salmon species are not identical products, they are close substitutes. Changes in the volume of aquaculture production substantially affect the market-clearing prices of wild salmon. This model will then be used to simulate potential changes in Chilean farmed salmon production and Alaska wild salmon production on salmon exvessel prices in Alaska.
    • An economic analysis of the market for Alaska wild salmon protein concentrate in China

      Xu, Pei (2004-08)
      The Alaska wild salmon industry has been in economic turmoil for many years. Plagued by increased production of farmed salmon, wholesale and ex-vessel prices for nearly all Alaska wild salmon species and products are at all time lows. The incentive to harvest the flesh of the lower-valued wild salmon species, such as the Alaskan pink and chum salmon, have led to discard problems. There are no seafood products currently made from the late season roe-stripped carcasses and the meat cannot be readily sold due to its perceived poor quality. The fishers and the processors are now faced with a problem of selling wild salmon products of little economic value. This study reports on an effort to investigate a potential Chinese market for Alaskan salmon protein concentrate (a powder product derived from Alaskan wild pink and Chum salmon). Personal surveys of Chinese consumers were conducted in five Chinese cities (Beijing, Tianjin, Baoding, Shijianzhuang, and Wangdu) to determine if this newly developed product would be valued by Chinese consumers. The relative important characteristics of wild salmon protein concentrate made from pink and chum salmon are compared to the existing protein concentrate consumed in China, made from Chinese grass carp, utilizing conjoint analyses.
    • The economic impact of ocean acidification on Pacific oysters

      Eaton, Gary A.; Little, Joseph; Goering, Gregory; Baek, Jungho (2015-05)
      Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, our atmosphere has continued to experience increased levels of CO₂ concentrations and with it, changes in seawater carbonate chemistry. These changes in the carbonate chemistry of seawater, a process known as ocean acidification (OA), threaten some species upon which some economies are largely dependent for economic activity. This thesis uses the best available data to summarize the Washington State shellfish economy and estimate potential impacts of OA on Pacific oyster demand. The analysis evaluates the economic impact of OA on demand using an autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) model approach to estimate short-run and long-run impacts. Although initial research attempted to assess the impacts of OA on Pacific oyster supply, findings from this study suggest that long-run decreases in carbonate chemistry may negatively impact the demand for Pacific oysters. As the waters used to grow Pacific oysters in Washington State continue to degrade as a result of OA, substantial losses in economic activity from Pacific oysters may be lost. On the west coast, oysters appear to be a luxury good with demand highly responsive to changes in income. Pacific oysters are moderately sensitive to price, indicating demand for oysters is elastic.
    • Economic impact of reindeer-caribou interactions on the Seward Peninsula

      Carlson, Stefanie Moreland (2005-05)
      The reindeer industry has persisted on the Seward Peninsula in western Alaska for more than 100 years. Since the mid 1990's the industry has been increasingly threatened by changes in Western Arctic Caribou Herd (WACH) migration paths and winter range. Free-range reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) intermingle with caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti) and migrate off designated reindeer ranges. As of spring 2003, eleven of fourteen Seward Peninsula reindeer operations were no longer commercially viable as a result of caribou induced reindeer losses. This loss is significant to an economically depressed region with few development opportunities. An economic input-output model was constructed in this study to analyze the reindeer industry's economic role in the regional economy prior to the loss of reindeer to caribou. Impact scenarios were used to estimate the effect of WACH on the regional economy through decreased output from the reindeer industry. Results show a per annum negative impact of $1.4 million (2000 dollars) on the regional economy with 11 non-operational reindeer herds. If reindeer losses lead to complete elimination of the commercial reindeer industry on the Seward Peninsula, study results show the region would incur a total negative economic impact of more than $17 million.
    • The effect of wildfires, spruce bark beetles, and prescribed burns on residential property values in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Reinker, Paul C.; Little, Joseph; Baek, Jungho; Greenberg, Joshua (2019-08)
      This study estimates the effect that forest fires, spruce bark beetle outbreaks, and controlled burns performed by fire management agencies have on nearby residential property values. Using the hedonic pricing framework, and ten years of house sales from south-central Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, this study found little evidence that wildfires and spruce beetle outbreaks have a significant effect on the final sale price of surrounding homes, but found that the controlled burns contribute to a decrease in surrounding home values. As Alaska's climate becomes warmer and drier, these disturbances threaten to increase in frequency and severity. Understanding how homeowners perceive fire risk and forest damage is increasingly important to fire management policy, as the behavior of residents can help limit both the cost from and incidence of wildfires. The study's findings suggest that homeowners are either insulated from, or indifferent to fire risk, but targeted burns of high-risk areas by fire managers could increase awareness and sensitivity to fire risk.
    • Effects of wind energy utilization on long-run fuel consumption in remote Alaska microgrids

      Vaught, Laura K.; Little, Joseph; Baek, Jungho; Pride, Dominique (2019-12)
      This paper presents an empirical analysis of the long-run reduction in diesel fuel consumption driven by wind energy utilization in remote Alaska electrical grids. Models control for other fuel consumption determinants including customer base and transmission and distribution system efficiency. Fourteen rural communities that integrated wind energy into their diesel powered electrical grids are analyzed within a dynamic panel framework using monthly utility data spanning sixteen years, from 2001 to 2017. An auto-regressive distributed lag approach is taken to address cointegration and presence of a unit root in the data. Long-run parameters are estimated for the full dataset as well as for four sub-samples to compare impacts on microgrids with high and low average renewable utilization and with large and small customer bases. Results indicate that fuel consumption is reduced by an estimated 68 gallons on average for each one percent increase in wind energy penetration on the electricity grid. Beyond 30% average penetration, however, additional wind energy generation leads to increased fuel consumption as turbine curtailment methods must be employed to maintain grid stability, indicating that this is a fuel-offset constraint point in low and medium penetration wind-diesel hybrid systems. High penetration-capable wind-diesel systems with energy storage capabilities may allow utilities to increase utilization rates beyond this threshold to capture additional fuel savings and carbon emissions offset.
    • Examination of US college textbook prices

      Molina, Allen Christopher; Baek, Jungho; Wright, Christopher; Little, Joseph (2015-08)
      College textbook prices are investigated in detail using an Auto-Regressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) approach to cointegration. This technique allows for the examination of short and Long run affects to prices brought upon by changes in personal income, college enrollment, input Prices and changes in corporate profit. The 2008 economic downturn and the introduction of the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act have also been included in this analysis as factors Affecting price. The results of my analysis show that supply factors are stronger determinants in The long run changes of textbook prices, while in the short run, both supply and demand factors Are determinants of textbook prices. Both 2008 market shocks also were found to have negative Effects on prices in the college textbook market.
    • An exploration of own and cross-price elasticity of demand for residential heating in the Fairbanks North Star Borough

      Graham, Noelle J.; Little, Joseph; Baek, Jungho; Kennedy, Camilla (2019-05)
      The purpose of this study is to utilize community level household energy consumption data to determine the short-run own- and cross-price elasticity of heating oil and wood using the proportionally calibrated almost idea demand system model. Elasticity values can identify how residents of the Fairbanks North Star Borough will potentially alter home heating practices in response to a change in home heating oil price. Results indicate that values for own-price elasticity for oil is -0.259, with a 95% confidence interval of [-0.272, -0.246]. Based on predicted values a 1% increase in the price of heating oil is estimated to result in a reduction of 0.259% in the quantity of residential heating oil consumed by the average household. Cross-price elasticity estimates of wood with respect to a change in the price of oil is 0.198 with a 95% confidence interval of [0.171, 0.234]. Based on predicted values, a 1% increase in the price of oil is predicted to increase wood consumption by 0.198%. In addition, this study utilized a Monte Carlo Simulation with estimated elasticity parameters to predict the change in household level energy consumption of wood and heating oil given an increase in heating oil prices. Approximately 71% of households are predicted to decrease overall energy consumption. 83.5% of households are predicted to decrease oil consumption, and 57.3% of houses are predicted to increase wood consumption. Through evaluating household's energy consumption decisions in the face of changing prices, these results can inform effective air quality policies.