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Lunchtime Talk: Building Resilient and Sustainable Landscapes: Lessons from Complex-Systems Science

Many of the global-scale environmental and social challenges humanity faces today are daunting and difficult for policymakers to address, but the regional landscape remains at a scale that makes it possible for regional governance systems to make meaningful change. In this presentation, Lael Parrott, a professor in sustainability at the University of British Columbia, explores the relationship between complexity, resilience, and sustainability at the landscape scale.

When: Thursday, September 22, 12 to 1
Where: ISER Conference Room, Third Floor, 1901 Bragaw St.

Dr. Parrott’s visit to Anchorage is hosted by UAA’s Complex Systems Initiative, and is co-sponsored by UAA Honors College and ISER. She will deliver the Helen and Lee Gorsuch Lecture, “Slow Down and Save the Whales,” Thursday, September 22, at 7 p.m. in the UAA Arts Building. For more information go to: http://greenandgold.uaa.alaska.edu/blog/tag/lael-parrott/

Note: This presentation will not be recorded or live streamed.

September 20th, 2016|

Lunchtime Talk: A Panel Discussion of the Economic Potential of Immigrants and Refugees in Anchorage

A growing number of immigrants and refugees call Anchorage home, and ISER is pleased to host a panel discussion of their economic contributions. The panelists are Ethan Berkowitz, the mayor of Anchorage; Bill Popp, the president of Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC); Delaney Mitchell, UAA student and researcher; and Mara Kimmel, a senior fellow at the Institute of the North.

The panelists will describe efforts in Anchorage to avoid “brain waste” among those coming from other countries, by ensuring they have access to markets and jobs, and also discuss ways to leverage the skills, experience, and education these newcomers bring to the city. The discussion is one of a number of events in Welcoming Week, sponsored by the Municipality of Anchorage, AEDC, and local businesses.

When: Monday, September 19, 12 to 1
Where: Room B05 (Basement), 1901 Bragaw Street

Note: Those who can’t attend in person can stream the talk live at: http://stream.iseralaska.org

September 14th, 2016|

Lunchtime Talk: Comparing Models for Measuring Well-Being in Alaska and Yukon

Many communities are developing ways of evaluating local well-being. Research shows that when local governments ask residents to take part in determining measures of well-being, the public is more likely to get involved in decision-making, and communities have more influence over resource management.

Kent Spiers, a doctoral candidate at the University of Calgary and a former research associate at ISER, compared how communities in Alaska and Yukon evaluate local well-being.

September 8th, 2016|

Andrew Bibler joins ISER Faculty

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ISER is pleased to announce that Andrew Bibler is a new assistant professor and in UAA’s Economics Department. His research interests include the economics of education, especially nonstandard approaches to education. He is also interested in labor economics, public economics and applied econometrics.

He is currently working on a project that analyzes the impact of dual language programs on student achievement. The multiyear project has been tracking students from kindergarten to ninth grade in dual language programs and comparing their progress with students enrolled in single language schools.

Other projects are Household Composition and Gender Differences in Parental Time Investments and a coauthored paper, Precision for Policy: Calculating Standard Errors in Value Added Models.

He will begin teaching in the economics department in the spring semester. He’s taught previously at Michigan State University and Ohio University. He will receive his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in December. He holds an M.A. in economics from Ohio University and a B.S. in economics from Brigham Young University.

His office is located in the ISER offices at the Bragaw Building, #311. He can be reached at 786-5452, ajbibler@alaska.edu.

September 6th, 2016|

Who Has Better Pay and Benefits—Workers in State Government or Private Industry?

Are state workers better paid than their counterparts in private industry? That question is likely to come up more often, as the state deals with a huge budget shortfall. The answer is generally no, but there are exceptions for individual occupations.

That’s the main finding of ISER economists Mouhcine Guettabi and Matthew Berman, who did the research for the Alaska Department of Administration. They analyzed the question in two ways, using different data sources. Both analysts reached the same broad conclusion: state workers are not on average paid more, whether you include just wages, or total compensation—wages plus benefits.

To see highlights of the findings, download the summary, Who Has Better Pay and Benefits—Workers in State Government or Private Industry? (PDF, 759KB) For more detailed information, download the full report, Overpaid or Underpaid? Public Employee Compensation in the State of Alaska (PDF, 3.04MB). If you have questions, get in touch with Mouhcine Guettabi, assistant professor of economics, at 907-786-5496 or mguettabi@alaska.edu, or Matthew Berman, professor of economics, at 907-786-5426 or mdberman@alaska.edu.

July 27th, 2016|

Results of 2016 Survey of OCS Employees

Diwakar Vadapalli, assistant professor of public policy at ISER, is the lead author of Alaska Office of Children’s Services: Results of the 2016 Annual Staff Survey, a report recently released by the Alaska Citizen Review Panel. He is also the chair of that panel.  This report is not an ISER publication, but it adds to Dr. Vadapalli’s ongoing research on child welfare.

Federal and state laws require the Alaska Citizen Review Panel to review the policies, procedures, and practices of child protection services in Alaska and make recommendations for change. In 2015, the panel recommended that OCS re-structure its annual survey of employees and further analyze the resulting survey data. OCS responded by asking the panel to conduct the 2016 survey. In turn, Dr. Vadapalli enlisted students in his graduate-level research methods course at UAA to re-structure and carry out the survey.

Download the report (PDF) from the review panel’s website.

July 15th, 2016|
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