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Alaska Fiscal Facts and Choices

Gunnar Knapp describes the fiscal challenge Alaska faces and options for dealing with it. (PDF, 1.87MB)

(Updated February 2nd, 2016)

Watch Gunnar Knapp describe Alaska's budget crisis in 9 minutes.

Diwakar Vadapalli and UAA Students Survey Those Who Protect Alaska's Children

Diwakar Vadapalli

UAA's Seawolf Weekly recently talked with ISER's Diwakar Vadapalli and some of his students, about their survey of employees of the Office of Children's Services, the agency that protects Alaska's children from abuse. Find out what they learned.


For more information, get in touch with Diwakar Vadapalli at dkvadapalli@alaska.edu.

Short-Run Economic Impacts of Alaska Fiscal Options

Download Short-Run Economic Impacts of Alaska Fiscal Options (PDF, 4.3MB), by Gunnar Knapp, Matthew Berman, and Mouhcine Guettabi.

Presentation (PDF, 2.3MB) to Senate Finance Committee on March 30, 2016.

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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.

Results of 2016 Survey of OCS Employees

Posted on July 15th, 2016

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.

Dr. Ralph Townsend appointed ISER director

Posted on June 17th, 2016

Dr Ralph Townsend

Following a nationwide search, Dr. Ralph Townsend has been named to lead ISER beginning in August. Dr. Townsend has nearly thirty years of experience in higher education and government, including research, administration and teaching.

Read more about Ralph and his appointment.

Lunchtime Talk: Developing Renewable Energy Through Partnerships with Indigenous Peoples

Posted on June 6th, 2016

Greg Poelzer is a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan, but currently he is a Fulbright Arctic Initiative scholar who has been visiting at ISER. An important part of his research focuses on comparative public policy related to Indigenous-state relations. At ISER he will talk how Saskatchewan is on the forefront of developing renewable energy through partnerships with First Nations and other Indigenous peoples, as it moves toward sharply increasing its use of renewable energy. Please join us to hear his talk.

When: Friday, June 10, 12 to 1
Where: ISER Conference Room, Third Floor, 1901 Bragaw Street, Suite 301

1901 Bragaw Street is on Bragaw between Northern Lights and Debarr. Parking is free.

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

June 24 Retirement Reception for Steve Colt and Gunnar Knapp

Posted on June 2nd, 2016

Two of ISER’s long-time economists, Steve Colt and Gunnar Knapp, are retiring this June. Gunnar Knapp is also currently ISER’s director, and Steve Colt was the director from 2007 to 2009. ISER is honoring them with a reception on Friday, June 24, from 3 to 5, in Room 307 of the Consortium Library. Please join us in celebrating two of Alaska’s most-respected economists. Light refreshments will be provided, and parking on the UAA campus is free on Fridays.

Gunnar Knapp joined ISER in 1981, and has over time become internationally known for his research on fisheries markets and fisheries management, in Alaska and elsewhere. Much of his work has focused on the Alaska salmon industry.

Steve Colt started work at ISER in 1984, and he is now considered one of Alaska’s leading authorities on energy issues—especially rural energy—as well as in the valuation of natural resources. He was also instrumental in creating UAA's environmental studies program, and chaired that program from 1998 to 2006.

When: Friday, June 24, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: UAA/APU Consortium Library, Room 307

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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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