Current and Future Medical Costs of Childhood Obesity in Alaska

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
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Indigenous Regulatory Advocacy in Canada’s Far North: Mobilizing the First Mile Connectivity Consortium

Heather Hudson, professor of public policy at ISER, is a co-author of an article about advocating for indigenous regulatory authority in Canada's far north, recently published in the Journal of Information Policy. Download the article (pdf, 194.8KB).
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How Do Community Characteristics and Alcohol Control Affect Suicide Among Young Alaska Native Men?

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
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Fiscal Impacts of Alternative Land-Use Scenarios for the Mat-Su Borough

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
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Alaska’s Oil Production Tax: Comparing the Old and the New

Last year the Alaska Legislature made a controversial change in the oil production tax, the state’s largest source of oil revenue. The old tax, known as ACES (Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share), was replaced with MAPA (More Alaska Production Act, or SB21).  Critics and supporters of the change strongly disagree about which tax structure would benefit Alaska the most over time—and in August voters will decide whether they want to keep or repeal the new tax. Scott Goldsmith, professor emeritus of economics at ISER, has analyzed the potential effects of the old and the new tax on state oil revenues and new jobs.

To see the paper, Web Note 17. Alaska's Oil Production Tax: Comparing the Old and the New, click here; to see a presentation about the analysis, click here.

If you have questions, get in touch with ISER at or 907-786-7710.
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