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ISER enhances the well-being of Alaskans and others, through non-partisan research that helps people understand social and economic systems and supports informed public and private decision-making.

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A Free Public Forum, October 4: Less Money and Higher Costs

Posted on September 24th, 2014

Oil from Alaska’s North Slope has supported the state’s government and economy for decades. But oil production has been dropping—at the same time population and state spending have been growing and the government’s debt obligations, pension liabilities, and other costs have been increasing.

What might all this mean for Alaskans? Alaska Common Ground and ISER are sponsoring a non-partisan public forum that will look at the big picture of Alaska’s public finances—and help Alaskans understand the choices we will likely face as pressure on the state budget grows. Analysts from government, the University of Alaska, and private industry will be there, and the audience will be invited to take part in examining options for state fiscal systems.

When: Saturday, October 4, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Loussac Library, 3600 Denali St., Anchorage

For more information, go to www.akcommonground.org. You can bring your own lunch, or buy lunch for $15. Please RSVP to info@akcommonground.org to reserve a lunch or pre-pay.

Incentives and Assumptions: Comparing Alaska’s Oil Production Taxes

Posted on August 7th, 2014

Alaskans will soon vote on whether to keep the state’s new oil production tax, known as SB 21, that went into effect this year, or to go back to the previous tax, called Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES). A new analysis by Matthew Berman, professor of economics at ISER, looks broadly at how the new tax compares with the tax it replaced, examining not only how future state revenues might differ under the two systems, but also other differences—how the two compare with older production tax regimes and how government-industry relationships vary under the two systems.

He finds that SB 21 has a number of drawbacks, compared with earlier systems, including its administrative complexity and its low effective tax rate for new oil—which means that the state’s percentage share of the value of the oil is likely to decline over time. He identifies the one major problem with ACES as its high effective tax rates, which could hamper new investment.

Overall, Dr. Berman concludes that the tax system in place before ACES—the Petroleum Profits Tax, replaced by ACES in 2007—is arguably a better fit for Alaska, because it had neither the high tax rates of ACES nor the administrative complexity of SB 21.

Download the full analysis, Comparing Alaska’s Oil Production Taxes: Incentives and Assumptions (PDF, 684KB). If you have questions, get in touch with Gunnar Knapp, ISER’s director, at gpknapp@uaa.alaska.edu or 907-786-7717.

July 23 Forum on the Oil-Tax Referendum

Posted on July 17th, 2014

In the primary election scheduled for August 19, Alaskans will vote on whether to keep or repeal the new state oil-production tax system, commonly known as Senate Bill (SB) 21. Alaska Common Ground and several co-sponsors (including ISER) are holding a forum on the oil-tax referendum on July 23, in the Wilda Marston Theatre of Anchorage’s Loussac Library, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The forum is free and open to the public.

Speaking in favor of repealing the new tax will be Bill Wielechowski, a state senator from Anchorage, and Gregg Erickson, a long-time Alaska economist. Supporting the new system will be Brad Keithley, an oil and gas policy consultant, and Roger Marks, a veteran petroleum economist. ISER’s director, Gunnar Knapp, will moderate the discussion.

Alaska Common Ground is a non-profit organization that brings Alaskans together to talk about Alaska public policy issues. For more information, go to www.akcommonground.org or call 907-952-3353.

Workshop June 27 on Model Used for Oil Tax Analysis

Posted on June 19th, 2014

Updated on June 27, 2014

On Friday, June 27, Scott Goldsmith, professor emeritus of economics at ISER, will host a technical workshop, open to the public, to discuss the model used in his recent analysis (pdf, 2.6MB) of future revenues under the state’s old method of taxing oil production, called ACES, and the new method that went into effect in January, known as SB21 or MAPA.

When: Friday, June 27, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: UAA Consortium Library, Room 307. Parking is free on UAA campus this week.

Available for download:
Analysis (pdf, 2.6MB)
Analysis model (.xlsx, 234KB)
Presentation – May 1, 2014 (pdf, 3.95MB) to the Resource Development Council
Presentation – June 25, 2014 (pdf, 3.45MB) to Commonwealth North

If you are planning on attending the workshop, please RSVP by calling (907) 786-7710 so we know how many to expect.

Current and Future Medical Costs of Childhood Obesity in Alaska

Posted on May 30th, 2014

Treating medical problems related to obesity among the current group of children and teenagers in Alaska will cost about $624 million (in today’s dollars) over the next 20 years, according to a new analysis by Mouhcine Guettabi, assistant professor of economics at ISER. That includes costs for the 15% who are obese now, and will likely remain so as adults, as well as another 20% who aren’t obese now but will become obese as adults.  These are the first estimates of the medical costs associated with obesity among those ages 2 through 19 in Alaska today.

The study, Current and Future Medical Costs of Obesity in Alaska (pdf, 372.5KB), was done for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. If you have questions, get in touch with Mouhcine Guettabi at mguettabi@alaska.edu.

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To Russia with Love: An Alaskan's Journey

To Russia with Love: An Alaskan's Journey

Available for ordering now, with October 2012 publication date. To Russia with Love: An Alaskan's Journey, by Victor Fischer, with Charles Wohlforth.

The George Rogers Emerging Scholars Fund

The George Rogers Emerging Scholars Fund was established at ISER in 2011 to encourage young scholars and promote research opportunities in Alaska. It honors the memory of George Rogers, an economist and guiding light of ISER for half a century.

Donate to the fund.
George Rogers

Alaska Native Language Map A digital edition of the map, Indigenous Peoples and Languages of Alaska, is now available. It is a joint project of the Alaska Native Language Center and ISER, based on ground-breaking Alaska Native language maps created by Michael E. Krauss in 1974 and 1982. Printed copies are available from ANLC.

An interactive version is also available on ISER's Alaskool website.

Download an informational flyer about the Indigenous People and Languages of Alaska map.
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