Lunchtime Talk: Do Isolated Areas of Alaska Benefit from Local Resource Developments?

Much of the natural-resource development in Alaska happens in isolated, rural areas. Do local residents get jobs and other benefits from those developments? Mouhcine Guettabi, an assistant professor of economics at ISER, is assessing that question in two papers he is currently working on.

In the first paper, he is using employment by place of work and by place of residence to determine whether local residents of an isolated borough with oil development get a share of the new jobs created when oil prices spike up. In the second, he is looking at the causal effects of the Red Dog mine on employment, wages, and other measures in the Northwest Arctic Borough, where the mine has been operating since the 1980s.

Please join us at ISER to hear what he has found so far.

When: Friday, April 28, 12 to 1
Where: ISER conference room
Third floor, 1901 Bragaw St., Suite 301

Parking is free. Call 907-786-7710 if you need directions.

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

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How Do Alaskans Cover Their Medical Bills?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been at the top of the news lately, with Congress considering but then dropping proposed changes. Congress will try again to change the ACA—but it’s uncertain how or when. A new overview by Linda Leask, Rosyland Frazier, and Jessica Passini of ISER brings together information from many sources to describe health-care coverage Alaskans have now, and how ACA provisions have changed that coverage.

The Harold E. Pomeroy Public Policy Endowment supported their research. Download the summary, How Do Alaskans Cover Their Medical Bills? (PDF, 663.8KB)

If you have questions, call Linda Leask, ISER’s editor, at 907-786-5425.

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Energy Costs and Rural Alaska Out-Migration

Does expensive home-heating fuel cause people to move out of rural Alaska communities and into urban areas? Yes, but not as many as anecdotal reports might lead you to expect. Matthew Berman, professor of economics at ISER, found that for each $1 increase in fuel prices, fewer than 40 adults a year moved from rural to urban places. He also found that people’s employment status and earnings, and local labor market conditions in general, had much more influence than high fuel prices on their decisions to leave rural places.

This is the first study to use statistical testing to assess whether high fuel prices prompt people to leave rural Alaska communities. The analysis was based on adult Permanent Fund Dividend applications for 2003 through 2015, and was funded by the Alaska Energy Authority.

Download the study, Energy Costs and Rural Alaska Out-Migration (PDF, 137.3KB), by Matthew Berman. If you have questions, get in touch with the author at matthew.berman@uaa.alaska.edu or call 907-786-5426.

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ISER and First Alaskans Institute Sign MOU

Pictured signing the MOU are Liz Medicine Crow, president of FAI and Ralph Townsend, director of ISER. Behind them (left to right) are Diane Hirshberg, director of the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research; Andrea Sanders, director of FAI's Alaska Native Policy Center; Tom Case, UAA chancellor; Sam Gingrich, UAA provost; and Jeane T'áaw xíwaa Breinig, UAA interim associate vice chancellor for Alaska Natives and Diversity.

Pictured signing the MOU are Liz Medicine Crow, president of FAI and Ralph Townsend, director of ISER. Behind them (left to right) are Diane Hirshberg, director of the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research; Andrea Sanders, director of FAI’s Alaska Native Policy Center; Tom Case, UAA chancellor; Sam Gingrich, UAA provost; and Jeane T’áaw xíwaa Breinig, UAA interim associate vice chancellor for Alaska Natives and Diversity.

ISER and First Alaskans Institute (FAI) recently signed a memorandum of understanding to promote a “mutually beneficial” relationship between them, by meeting annually, developing new research collaborations, and taking other steps to help advance the goals of both organizations. FAI is a nonprofit organization that works to help Alaska Native people meet educational, economic, and social challenges they will face in the future. ISER does non-partisan public policy research, to help Alaskans and others understand the issues of the day and make informed decisions.

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Anchorage Arctic Research Day on March 24

The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) and UAA are hosting the first Anchorage Arctic Research Day on Friday, March 24, in UAA’s Rasmuson Hall. The event is to provide information about the diversity of research and creative activity among Arctic researchers, and to foster new collaborations. There will be participants from government, industry, and academia, as well as not-for-profit and indigenous groups. Researchers from across the natural and social sciences, health, engineering, humanities, and arts will make presentations.

Diane Hirshberg of ISER co-organized the event with ARCUS, and she and Marie Lowe and Matthew Berman of ISER will also make presentations. Registration is free. Go to:
https://www.arcus.org/meetings/2017/arctic-research-day

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