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ISER leads the way in fiscal-policy analysis.

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Does wearing an activity-tracker make Anchorage school kids more active?

ISER began looking at that question last year, and has some preliminary findings (PDF, 1.2MB)

This fall we'll continue the research, investigating whether kids become more active if you offer them incentives.

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

Posted on September 20th, 2016

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.

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

Posted on September 14th, 2016

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

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

Posted on September 8th, 2016

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.

Andrew Bibler joins ISER Faculty

Posted on September 6th, 2016

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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.

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

Posted on July 27th, 2016

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.

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