News and Announcements
A new report by Bob Loeffler and Jennifer Schmidt of ISER looks at jobs and income residents of small Bristol Bay communities received during exploration at the proposed Pebble mine site from 2009 through 2012. That proposed mine is enormously controversial, because of its proximity to the world-class Bristol Bay salmon fisheries, and there has been no exploration since 2013. The authors emphasize they are neither endorsing nor opposing the proposed mine. Rather, they assessed the economic effects of Pebble exploration on local communities as a case study in how small, remote communities can capture more of the benefits of rural resource development.
They found that about 43% of the workers at the Pebble exploration site from 2009 through 2012 were residents of 18 small Bristol Bay communities. That totaled about 300 Bristol Bay residents over the four-year period. Residents of the seven communities closest to the exploration site got the most jobs and income, averaging 100 jobs a year and bringing nearly $1.5 million into their communities annually. Almost all the jobs were seasonal, and pay averaged $19 an hour.
Download the summary (PDF, 454KB) or the full report (PDF, 2MB). If you have questions, get in touch with Bob Loeffler at email@example.com or call 907-250-4621. You can also contact Jennifer Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 907-786-5497.
Kevin Berry joined ISER in January as an assistant professor of economics, with a joint appointment in UAA’s economics department. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wyoming in 2015, and after that he was a post-doctoral associate at Yale University, studying adaptive human behavior and infectious disease.
His research interests include natural capital, human adaptive response to risk, human and natural systems and bio-economic modeling. He is interested in how people respond to environmental risk, including how they adapt to and mitigate risk. At ISER he hopes to work on large environmental problems involving fisheries, invasive species, and public health. In the fall he will begin teaching in the economics department. His office is at ISER, 1901 Bragaw Street, and his phone number is 907-786-1753.
Permanent Fund dividends—payments the state makes to virtually all residents annually—lifted about 25,000 Alaskans out of poverty in 2015, reducing poverty in Alaska by about a third. Since 1990, PFDs have reduced poverty rates in Alaska by an estimated 2.5 to 4 percentage points annually. They have been particularly important for children, Alaska Natives, and rural residents, who are much more likely to be poor than Alaskans on average.
Those are estimates that Matthew Berman, a professor of economics at ISER, and Random Reamey, an ISER research professional, developed for their analysis of how PFDs have reduced poverty in Alaska over the past 25 years. They made their own estimates, because they discovered that the U.S. census data federal agencies use to calculate poverty rates for Alaska don't include all PFD income. So they adjusted census data to include all PFD income, and then estimated poverty rates with and without PFDs.
Lunchtime Talk: Strong Opinions, Weak Understanding: How Does Knowledge Shape Educators’ Attitudes about Teacher Tenure?
The Alaska Department of Administration contracted with the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research (CAEPR) at ISER to study teacher salary and tenure issues in Alaska. As part of that broad study, CAEPR and ISER researchers explored attitudes and opinions about teacher tenure in Alaska. Please join us to hear what these researchers learned about how much teachers and principals understand (or misunderstand) about tenure policy in Alaska.
When: Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 12 to 1
Lunchtime Talk: Tradable Emissions Permits to Reduce Pollution: How Might Methods of Allocating Permits Affect Investment Decisions?
Many countries are now using emissions-trading schemes as a policy to reduce pollution cost-effectively. But what incentives do tradable-permit markets offer companies to make investments in advanced pollution-abatement technology? Timothy Cason, the Rasmuson Chair of Economics at UAA this semester, and a colleague from the UK recently investigated that question through experimental economics.
The researchers used a laboratory experiment to assess how two methods of allocating tradable permits—auctioning permits or grandfathering them—might affect businesses’ decisions about investing in new technology to reduce pollution. Please join us at ISER to learn what they found.
When: Thursday, December, 1, 12 to 1
Where: ISER conference room,
Third Floor, 1901 Bragaw Street, Suite 301
Those who can’t attend in person can stream the talk live at: http://stream.iseralaska.org
The Anchorage School District and Providence Alaska Medical Center have made wearable activity trackers available for Anchorage school students who choose to use them. Mouhcine Guettabi, an assistant professor of economics at ISER, is assessing how wearing these devices affects physical activity among school kids. In a recent experiment, he gave students in grades three through six different levels of access to feedback from the activity trackers. Some students could go online any time to get information, but others could get feedback only once every two weeks. Join us at ISER to hear Dr. Guettabi discuss whether having more access to feedback made kids more active.