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Products: UHERO Working Papers

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Energy and Greenhouse Gas Solutions: Hawai‘i Greenhouse Gas Emissions Profile 1990 and 2005

In an effort to effect national and global climate change policy to address the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the Hawai'i legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2007, Act 234. Act 234 calls for Hawai'i to return its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Here we report an inventory of emissions for the state for 1990 and 2005, and forecast emissions growth out to 2020.

Uhero project report

The Passenger Vessel Services Act and America’s Cruise Tourism Industry working paper

The Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA), a 123-year old cabotage law, attempts to shield U.S. maritime shipping from foreign competition. It also applies to the U.S. cruise ship industry. The PVSA requires foreign cruise ships that carry passengers between U.S. ports to also stop at foreign ports. Norwegian Cruise Line America (NCLA), which operates one U.S. flagged cruise ship in Hawaii, wants the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to require foreign cruise ships offering Hawaii itineraries from the U.S. west coast to spend more time in foreign ports. We analyze the merits of NCLA’s proposal. We argue that rather than making the PVSA even more protectionist, the law should be repealed.

Published: Mak, J. Sheehey, C. and Toriki, S., 2010. The passenger vessel services act and America's cruise tourism industry. Research in Transportation Economics, 26 (1), 18-26.

working paper version

Taxing Timeshare Occupancy

In this paper, we evaluate the manner in which timeshare occupancy is taxed in the State of Hawaii. Our objective is to ascertain how best to design a timeshare occupancy tax that treats all types of visitor accommodations equitably and enhances tourism’s net economic benefit to Hawaii’s residents. In particular, we address two concerns. First, what is the incidence of the timeshare occupancy tax? Second, what is its appropriate tax base? Answers to these two questions inform optimal timeshare taxation policy in Hawaii and elsewhere in the U.S.

working paper

Invasive Species Control over Space and Time: Miconia calvescens on Oahu, Hawaii

We use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to map the current and future populations of an invasive species, Miconia calvescens, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, and the potential damages to water quantity, water quality, endangered bird habitat, and native habitat housing endangered plants, snails, and insects. We develop a control cost function that includes locating and treating Miconia plants. Using optimal control theory, we find the spatially dependent optimal population levels of Miconia and the paths to these populations over time.

Published: Burnett, K. M., Kaiser, B. A., and Roumasset, J. A., 2007. Invasive Species Control over Space and Time: Miconia calvescens on Oahu, Hawaii. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 39 (October 2007), 125-132.

Working Paper version

Economic Impacts of E. Coqui frogs in Hawaii

Hawaii’s geographical isolation has resulted in the development of unique and fragile ecosystems in which the arrival of a new species may create dramatic changes in the ecology, and now the economy, of the islands. Successful establishment rates for new species before the arrival of humans in the early 1st millennium AD may have been as low as one new species every 10,000 years (Loope, 1997). Only one terrestrial mammal, a bat (now extinct), reached the island chain without human assistance. Many other suborders are unrepresented; for example, the islands have no native snakes or frogs.

working paper

Introductions of Invasive Species: Failure of the Weaker Link

The prevention of invasive species is modeled as a “weaker link” public good. Under the weaker link aggregation technology, individual contributions beyond the lowest level will still provide benefits, but progressively these benefits decline as contributions exceed the minimum. A two-region model is constructed, assuming incomplete information concerning costs of provision. We compare the results of the model to several benchmarks in order to gain insights regarding what we can expect countries to contribute to this transnational public good and how these contributions differ from the Pareto optimal level, given the technology and information structure of this special type of public good.

Published: Burnett, K. M., 2006.  Introductions of invasive species: Failure of the weaker link.  Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 35 (1), 21-28.

working paper version

Renewable resource management with stock externalities: Coastal aquifers and submarine groundwater discharge

This paper develops a hydrologic-ecologic-economic model of groundwater use. Particularly, we model coastal groundwater management and its effects on submarine groundwater discharge, nearshore marine water quality, and marine biota. We show that incorporating the external effects on nearshore resources increases the optimal sustainable steady-state head level. Numerical simulations are illustrated using data from the Kuki’o region on the island of Hawaii. Two different approaches for incorporating the nearshore resource are examined. Including algae’s market value in the objective function results in only slightly lower rates of extraction. When a minimum constraint is placed on the stock of the keystone species, however, greater conservation may be indicated. The constraint also results in non-monotonic paths of water extraction, head level, and water price in the optimal solution.

Published: Pongkijvorasin, S., Roumasset, J., Duarte, T. K., and Burnett, K., 2010. Renewable resource management with stock externalities: Coastal aquifers and submarine groundwater discharge. Resource and Energy Economics, 32 (3), 277-291.

 working paper version

Resource management for Sustainable Development of Island Economies

What is the role of resource management in sustaining competitiveness for island economies such as the Republic of the Philippines and Hawaii? We review the history of thought on sustainable resource management and sustainable development and then turn to the threats to sustainability from the resource curse and the parallel curse of paradise. We show how the resource curse undermines the pursuit of sustainability and describe innovations in governance that can transform the curse into a blessing.

working paper

Concepts in Greenhouse Gas Regulation: A Primer on Meeting ACT 234

In 2007, Hawaii became the second State after California to adopt binding greenhouse gas reductions targets in ACT 234. The legislation follows the example set by California in attaining 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. The State of Hawaii Department of Health Clean Air Branch is tasked to regulated emissions through the use of market-based mechanisms - essentially building a market for greenhouse gas pollution. While ACT 234 was in many ways modeled after California’s AB32, it is also recognized that Hawaii has unique economic and environmental characteristics. Hawaii will require policies tailored to its island features. This briefing provides a primer on greenhouse gas regulation options and how they might be applied to the case of Hawaii.

UHERO project Report

An Overview of U.S. Regional and National Climate Change Mitigation Strategies: Lessons for Hawai‘i

The challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions will differ from place to place, although it is particularly unique in the case of islands. Islands tend to be highly oil and tourism-dependent. Questions as to what type of market-based mechanism, such as cap-and-trade or a carbon tax, and what type of regional partnerships will be appropriate for an island economy are questions that Hawaii policy-makers face. A 10-member Task Force was created as a result of ACT 234 to develop the work plan for reaching the target reduction. This briefing is designed to help the Task Force and others to better understand what climate mitigation policies have been developed elsewhere, the choices made in developing the policy architecture, what types of economic and environmental analyses support these policy decisions, and how examples of other states, regional cooperatives, and international initiatives may be applicable to the case of Hawaii.

Uhero Project report

Financial Integration in the Pacific Basin Region: RIP by PANIC Attack?

We exploit advances in panel data econometrics to test whether real interest parity holds in the Pacific Basin region. We test for a unit root in the difference between either the US, Japanese or Euro area real interest rate and the real interest rates from a panel of eleven Pacific Basin economies. Unlike extant studies which test for RIP using panel data, we use Bai and Ng’s (2004) PANIC test which allows for a very general model of cross-section dependence, including the possibility of cross-unit cointegration. Ignoring the possibility of cross-unit cointegration can lead to severe size distortions and to an over-rejection of the null hypothesis of a unit root. We overturn earlier findings based on first generation panel tests, and demonstrate that cross-unit cointegration lead to incorrect conclusions. We find that RIP holds in the Pacific region. Real interest rates converge to the US rate. We find no support for the hypothesis that Pacific Basin real interest rates converge to either the Japanese or Euro area rates.

Published: “Financial Integration in the Pacific Basin Region: RIP by PANIC Attack?” with Somchai Amornthum, Journal of International Money and Finance, Vol. 30, October 2011, 1019-1033.

working paper

Environmental Resources and Economic Growth

This chapter assesses the nature and degree of environmental degradation and resource depletion in China and their relationship to economic activity and envi- ronmental policies. We describe regulatory and other policies and consider their political economy determinants. Inasmuch as this objective can only be partially achieved, we hope to contribute to a research agenda for environmental and resource economics in China.

Book Chapter

Beyond the lamppost: Optimal prevention and control of the Brown Tree Snake in Hawaii

We develop an integrated model for the prevention and control of an invasive species. The generality of the model allows its use for both existing and potential threats to the system of interest. The deterministic nature of arrivals in the model enables clear examination of the tradeoffs inherent when choosing between prevention and control strategies. We illuminate how optimal expenditure paths change in response to various biological and economic parameters for the case of the Brown Tree Snake in Hawaii. Results suggest that it is more advantageous to spend money finding the small population of snakes as they occur than attempting to prevent all future introductions. Like the drunk that looks for his keys only where the light is, public policy may fail to look “beyond the lamppost” for snakes that have already arrived but have not yet been detected. Actively searching for a potential population of snakes rather than waiting for an accidental discovery may save Hawaii tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in future damages, interdiction expenditures, and control costs.

Published: Burnett, K. M., D'Evelyn, S., Kaiser, B. A., Nantamanasikarn, P. and Roumasset, J. A., 2008. Beyond the lamppost: Optimal prevention and control of the Brown Tree Snake in Hawaii. Ecological Economics, 67 (1), 66-74.

working paper version

Optimal Prevention and Control of Invasive Species: The Case of the Brown Treesnake

This dissertation examines the optimal management of a nuisance species that threatens but is not thought to be prevalent in an ecosystem. The three central chapters focus on integrated prevention and control of the Brown Treesnake (Boiga irregularis) in Hawaii.


Learning-by-catching: Uncertain invasive-species populations and the value of information

This paper develops a model of invasive species control when the species’ population size is unknown. In the face of an uncertain population size, a resource manager’s species-control efforts provide two potential benefits: (1) a direct benefit of possibly reducing the population of invasive species, and (2) an indirect benefit of information acquisition (due to learning about the population size, which reduces uncertainty). We provide a methodology that takes into account both of these benefits, and show how optimal management decisions are altered in the presence of the indirect benefit of learning. We then apply this methodology to the case of controlling the Brown Treesnake (Boiga irregularis) on the island of Saipan. We find that the indirect benefit—the value of information to reduce uncertainty—is likely to be quite large.

Published: D'Evelyn, S. T., Tarui, N., Burnett, K. and Roumasset, J. A., 2008. Learning-by-catching: Uncertain invasive-species populations and the value of information.  Journal of Envrionmental Management, 89, 284-292.

working paper version

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