News and Announcements
Suicide rates among Alaska Natives rose rapidly in the 1960s and have remained high since then, with the highest rate among young Alaska Native men living in Alaska's small rural communities: 20 times the rate among Americans as a whole. But suicide rates among young Alaska Native men are considerably higher or lower in some small rural places than in others. In a recent analysis, Matthew Berman, professor of economics at ISER, looked at how community living conditions—including local alcohol control—affect suicide rates among young Alaska Native men. Analyzing data from the period 1980 through 2007, he found that specific community characteristics were associated with either higher or lower risk of suicide. Download the analysis, Suicide Among Young Alaska Native Men: Community Factors and Alcohol Control (PDF, 561.5KB). It was published in the American Journal of Public Health. If you have questions, get in touch with Matthew Berman at email@example.com.
Future population growth could be very expensive for residents of the Mat-Su Borough, if the cost of schools and other services increases faster than the revenues needed to pay for them. A big issue looming for the borough—and other local governments—is that state aid, which currently pays most of the bill for Alaska schools, is likely to decline as declining oil production reduces state revenues. The problem is particularly critical for the Mat-Su Borough, which is the fastest growing area in Alaska. A new analysis by Steve Colt, a professor of economics at ISER, assesses how six different land-use and population alternatives could affect the borough's finances through 2050. It focuses on the potential future costs of borough schools, because schools are by far the borough's biggest expense. The analysis was funded by The Nature Conservancy, the Bullitt Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Download the analysis, Fiscal Impacts of Alternative Land-Use Scenarios for the Mat-Su Borough (PDF, 1.5MB). If you have questions, get in touch with Steve Colt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alaska Energy Statistics final report for 2011, by ISER researchers Ginny Fay and Alejandra Villalobos-Meléndez, is now available. It is the most recent update of annual reports funded by the Alaska Energy Authority. It examines how much electricity individual utilities generated in 2011 (the most recent year for which complete data are available), with what types of fuel, at what electric rates, and with what level of CO2 emissions. It also summarizes changes in electric utility statistics in Alaska over time, and looks broadly at total energy production and consumption in Alaska. Several related products are available: the full report, Alaska Energy Statistics 1960-2011, [...]
Lunchtime Talk: Youth Perspectives on Rural Life and Leaving: Accounts and Out-Migration from an Irish Fishing Community
Gender disparities in the out-migration of young people from rural fishing regions across the North Atlantic and North Pacific suggest important differences in the ways rural young men and women identify with and experience rural life. Rachel Donkersloot, director of the Working Waterfronts Program for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, has studied those disparities in the rapidly shifting landscape of a rural Irish fishing community.
Residents of the Mat-Su Borough north of Anchorage say they would be willing to pay substantial amounts for actions that help protect things that drew them to the area in the first place—including salmon streams, local farmland, and opportunities for recreation and hunting. That's the main finding of a recent survey ISER economist Tobias Schwörer conducted of borough residents. The survey asked respondents to choose among different hypothetical future land-use and development alternatives, with different costs assigned to each alternative. By their choices, the respondents put dollar values on actions that would help protect non-market resources, like healthy salmon runs and public easements for hiking or snowmachine trails. These dollar amounts are hypothetical—no one was actually asked to pay anything—but they are still important measures of what borough residents value and consider worth paying for. The survey was done for The Nature Conservancy, with funding from the Bullitt Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. To read the 4-page summary of survey results, click here, and to see technical documentation of the survey and analysis of data, click here. For more information, get in touch with Tobias Schwörer at email@example.com.