Lunchtime Talk: A Framework for Valuing Commercial and Recreational Fisheries

Commercial and recreational fisheries are very different: the commercial fishery is a resource extraction, processing, and retailing industry; the recreational fishery is a form of outdoor recreation, influenced not only by the availability of fish but by the environmental setting and other factors aside from fish. How can we make a fair comparison of their economic value?

Gordon Gislason, a fisheries economist from Vancouver, British Columbia, talks about a framework he has developed for analyzing and comparing the economic value of the two kinds of fisheries. As a case study, he estimated the commercial and recreational values of Chinook salmon in Pacific Canada. Please join us to hear what he found.

Posted in News

Local Jobs and Income from Mineral Exploration

A new report by Bob Loeffler and Jennifer Schmidt of ISER looks at jobs and income residents of small Bristol Bay communities received during exploration at the proposed Pebble mine site from 2009 through 2012. That proposed mine is enormously controversial, because of its proximity to the world-class Bristol Bay salmon fisheries, and there has been no exploration since 2013. The authors emphasize they are neither endorsing nor opposing the proposed mine. Rather, they assessed the economic effects of Pebble exploration on local communities as a case study in how small, remote communities can capture more of the benefits of rural resource development.

They found that about 43% of the workers at the Pebble exploration site from 2009 through 2012 were residents of 18 small Bristol Bay communities. That totaled about 300 Bristol Bay residents over the four-year period. Residents of the seven communities closest to the exploration site got the most jobs and income, averaging 100 jobs a year and bringing nearly $1.5 million into their communities annually. Almost all the jobs were seasonal, and pay averaged $19 an hour.

Download the summary (PDF, 454KB) or the full report (PDF, 2MB). If you have questions, get in touch with Bob Loeffler at rloeffle@alaska.edu or call 907-250-4621. You can also contact Jennifer Schmidt at jischmidt0@gmail.com or call 907-786-5497.

Posted in News

Kevin Berry joins ISER Faculty

picture of Kevin BerryKevin Berry joined ISER in January as an assistant professor of economics, with a joint appointment in UAA’s economics department. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wyoming in 2015, and after that he was a post-doctoral associate at Yale University, studying adaptive human behavior and infectious disease.

His research interests include natural capital, human adaptive response to risk, human and natural systems and bio-economic modeling. He is interested in how people respond to environmental risk, including how they adapt to and mitigate risk. At ISER he hopes to work on large environmental problems involving fisheries, invasive species, and public health. In the fall he will begin teaching in the economics department. His office is at ISER, 1901 Bragaw Street, and his phone number is 907-786-1753.

Posted in News

How Permanent Fund Dividends Reduce Poverty in Alaska

Permanent Fund dividends—payments the state makes to virtually all residents annually—lifted about 25,000 Alaskans out of poverty in 2015, reducing poverty in Alaska by about a third. Since 1990, PFDs have reduced poverty rates in Alaska by an estimated 2.5 to 4 percentage points annually. They have been particularly important for children, Alaska Natives, and rural residents, who are much more likely to be poor than Alaskans on average.

Those are estimates that Matthew Berman, a professor of economics at ISER, and Random Reamey, an ISER research professional, developed for their analysis of how PFDs have reduced poverty in Alaska over the past 25 years. They made their own estimates, because they discovered that the U.S. census data federal agencies use to calculate poverty rates for Alaska don’t include all PFD income. So they adjusted census data to include all PFD income, and then estimated poverty rates with and without PFDs.

Download the summary (PDF, 955KB) or the full analysis (PDF, 994KB). If you have questions, call Matthew Berman at 907-786-5426.

Posted in News

Lunchtime Talk: Strong Opinions, Weak Understanding: How Does Knowledge Shape Educators’ Attitudes about Teacher Tenure?

The Alaska Department of Administration contracted with the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research (CAEPR) at ISER to study teacher salary and tenure issues in Alaska. As part of that broad study, CAEPR and ISER researchers explored attitudes and opinions about teacher tenure in Alaska. Please join us to hear what these researchers learned about how much teachers and principals understand (or misunderstand) about tenure policy in Alaska.

When: Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 12 to 1
Where: ISER conference room,
Third Floor, 1901 Bragaw Street, Suite 301

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

Posted in News