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Hawaii Construction Forecast: Construction Upswing Picks Up Speed

Posted March 29, 2013 | Categories: Forecasts

Construction turned the corner in Hawaii last year after five straight years of contraction. We are now seeing impressive gains in percentage terms for private building permits, although these are starting from very depressed levels. Home building, retail and visitor industry upgrades, the ongoing boom in photovoltaic installation, and, yes, rail, will combine to drive a strong industry expansion over the next several years.

A summary of this forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed analysis, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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Sustainable Development and the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative: An Economic Assessment

 The connection between the emerging field of sustainability science and the economics of sustainable development has motivated a line of interdisciplinary research inspired by the notion of “positive sustainability.” This notion is founded on three principles or pillars: (1) adopting a complex systems approach to modeling and analysis, integrating natural resource systems, the environment, and the economy; (2) pursuing dynamic efficiency, that is, efficiency over both time and space in the management of the resource-environment-economy complex to maximize intertemporal well-being; and (3) enhancing stewardship for the future through intertemporal equity, which is increasingly represented as intergenerational neutrality or impartiality. This paper argues that the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) fails to satisfy all three pillars of sustainability, and consequently fails to achieve the "sustainability criterion" put forward by Arrow, Dagupta, Daily et al: that total welfare of all future generations not be diminished. HCEI shrinks the economy, contributes negligibly to reduction of global carbon emissions, and sparks rent seeking activity (pursuit of special privilege and benefits) throughout the State of Hawaii.

WORKING PAPER


Hawaii Economists Consider Impact Of Minimum Wage Increase

Two proposed bills in the legislation have the support of Governor Abercrombie, and could bump up Hawaii current minimum wage to $8.75 an hour. HPR's Molly Solomon reports on the potential impacts. 

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Brief: Should we increase Hawaii's minimum wage?

A higher minimum wage is unlikely to accomplish the stated goal of raising the living standards of the working poor. And given Hawaii’s highly service oriented economy, the negative impact of an increased minimum wage may have a larger impact than in other states.

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Carl Bonham Discusses Latest State Forecast Update on The Conversation

Posted February 19, 2013 | Categories: Media

UHERO Executive Director and Professor of Economics Carl Bonham goes on The Conversation on HPR to talk about the latest State Forecast Update, including discussion regarding current and forecasted federal spending cuts, construction jobs, and the future of tourism.

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UHERO State Forecast Update: Expansion Shifts Into Higher Gear

Posted February 15, 2013 | Categories: Forecasts

2012 marked a transition to healthier growth. Room for rapid tourism gains is now limited, but other sectors will pick up the pace.

A summary of this forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed analysis, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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Tax Credit Incentives for Residential Solar Photovoltaic in Hawai‘i

Solar photovoltaic (PV) tax credits are at the center of a public debate in Hawai‘i. The controversy stems largely from unforeseen budgetary impacts, driven in part by the difference between the legislative intent and implementation of the PV tax credits. HRS 235-12.5 allows individual and corporate taxpayers to claim a 35% tax credit against Hawaii state individual or corporate net income tax for eligible renewable energy technology, including PV. The policy imposes a $5,000 cap per system, and excess credit amounts can be carried forward to future tax years. Because the law did not clearly define what constitutes a system or restrict the number of systems per roof, homeowners have claimed tax credits for multiple systems on a single property. In an attempt to address this issue, in November 2012, temporary administrative rules define a PV system as an installation with output capacity of at least 5 kW for a single-family residential property. The new rule does not constrain the total number of systems per roof, but rather defines system size and permits tax credits for no more than one sub-5 kW system. In other words, it is possible to install multiple 5 kW systems and claim credits capped at $5,000 for each system. There is an additional 30% tax credit for PV capital costs at the federal level. There is no cap for the federal tax credit and excess credits can be rolled over to subsequent years.

UHERO BRIEF


The Impact of Same-Sex Marriage on Hawai‘i’s Economy and Government

This report provides quantitative and qualitative measures of the impact of same-sex marriage on Hawai`i’s economy and government. We find that marriage equality is likely to lead to substantial increases in visitor arrivals, visitor spending, and state and county general excise tax revenues. We estimate that fewer than 100 spouses will be added as beneficiaries to public and private employer-provided health insurance plans. The size of the gains from marriage equality depends critically on upcoming rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.  

WORKING PAPER

 

 


Carl Bonham on Insights on PBS Hawaii: Fiscal Cliff

Posted February 4, 2013 | Categories: Media

UHERO Executive Director and Professor of Economics Carl Bonham goes on Insights on PBS Hawaii with host Dan Boylan and other guests. The group discusses the impacts of the federal "fiscal cliff" on Hawai'i's economy, as well as the state's plans to address government spending and encourage revenue growth.

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A dynamic approach to PES pricing and finance for interlinked ecosystem services: Watershed conservation and groundwater management

A theory of payment for ecosystem services (PES) pricing consistent with dynamic efficiency and sustainable income requires optimized shadow prices. Since ecosystem services are generally interdependent, this requires joint optimization across multiple resource stocks. We develop such a theory in the context of watershed conservation and groundwater extraction. The optimal program can be implemented with a decentralized system of ecosystem payments to private watershed landowners, financed by efficiency prices of groundwater set by a public utility. The theory is extended to cases where land is publicly owned, conservation instruments exhibit non-convexities on private land, or the size of a conservation project is exogenous. In these cases, conservation investment can be financed from benefit taxation of groundwater consumers. While volumetric conservation surcharges induce inefficient water use, a dynamic lump-sum tax finances investment without distorting incentives. Since the optimal level of conservation is generated as long as payments are correct at the margin, any surplus can be returned to consumers through appropriate block pricing. The present value gain in consumer surplus generated by the conservation-induced reduction in groundwater scarcity serves as a lower bound to the benefits of conservation without explicit measurement of other benefits such as recreation, biodiversity, and cultural values.

 

Published Version: Roumasset, J., Wada, C.A., 2013. A dynamic approach to PES pricing and finance of interlinked ecosystem services: Watershed conservation and groundwater management. Ecological Economics. 87, 24-33.

 

WORKING PAPER

 


The Contribution of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa to Hawai‘i’s Economy in 2012

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) generates economic activity through its purchases from local businesses, its payment to its employees, and spending by students and visitors. This report estimates UHM’s total economic activity in the state of Hawai‘i in fiscal year 2012. Following a standard approach, we define economic impact to be the direct, indirect, and induced economic activities generated by the university’s spending in the state economy.

Although one can think of the UHM as if it were one of many businesses or industries in Hawai‘i, an important difference between UHM and most private businesses is that UHM gets a substantial part of its funding from taxpayers. In FY2012, UHM and the supporting RCUH (Research Corporation of the University of Hawai‘i) spent a total of $878 million in support of its education mission; the State General Fund paid $198 million of the total. Adding money spent by the privately funded UH Foundation, spending by students, out-of-town visitor spending related to UHM sponsored professional meetings and conferences brings total UHM-related expenditures to $1.40 billion in FY2012, 90% of which was spent locally.

Overall, the $1.40 billion of education-related expenditures attributable to UHM generated $2.45 billion in local business sales, $735 million in employee earnings, $131 million in state tax revenues, and slightly under 20,000 jobs in Hawai‘i in FY2012. This represented approximately 3.4% of total jobs, 2.5% of worker earnings, and 2.2% of total state tax revenues.

Looking to the future, the university’s Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative ( HI2 ) plans to more than double the UH system’s current level of extramural research funds from less than $500 million to an ambitious $1 billion per annum. If the HI2 successfully doubles research expenditures, our analysis suggests more than 5,000 new jobs would be created from the ripple effects of the research spending alone, independent of any technology transfer and other jobs created as a direct result of the research.

 

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Staffing Structure of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Peers, and Doctoral/Research-Extensive Universities

Posted January 15, 2013 | Categories: Presentations, Project UH

This study examines staff support at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa (UHM) vis-à-vis its peer group (Peers) and all 4-year public Doctoral/Research-Extensive Universities (DREU). More specifically, we compare the averages of the ratio of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff to FTE faculty and FTE enrollment across the three groups; UHM, Peers, and DREU. We present results for the following support staff categories: executive, administrative, and managerial; other professional (support/service); technical and paraprofessional; clerical and secretarial; skilled crafts; and service/maintenance.

 

Executive Summary

 

Staffing Report Presentation


Carl Bonham on Insights on PBS Hawaii

Posted January 7, 2013 | Categories: Media

UHERO Executive Director and Professor of Economics Carl Bonham participates in Insights on PBS Hawaii's 2012 Year in Review panel. With host Dan Boylan, panel guests take a look back at top stories from 2012, covering topics such as rail, the election, education, tourism, and more

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UHERO Asia-Pacific Foreacast: Developing Countries Buoy Asian Growth

Posted December 7, 2012 | Categories: Forecasts

The never-ending European debt debacle and stuttering US recovery have taken a bite out of Asia-Pacific growth this year. Higher income Asian economies have suffered the most from the trade falloff. At the same time, labor markets and fiscal conditions in East and Southeast Asian developing countries remain far stronger than in the developed world. As a result, growth prospects for the region continue to look rosier than in much of the rest of the world, if softer than we saw in the early post-crisis rebound.

A summary of this forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed analysis, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

 

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Carl Bonham on Howard's Election Report on Hawaii News Now

UHERO economist Carl Bonham spoke with Howard Dicus at the State Capitol post-election to help clarify the so called "fiscal cliff".  The cliff refers to hundreds of billions of dollars in spending cuts and tax increases that could lead to a serious recession in 2013.  Lets hope that our elected officials can come together to meet this test!   

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