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Products: UHERO Working Papers

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Alternative Policies for US Economic Recovery

Recovery has begun in the United States and global economies. The US recovery is likely to be anemic by historical standards, raising the possibility that additional stimulus may be desirable. The President and Democrats in Congress have called for a “jobs bill,” and the Federal Reserve has demonstrated that it has a flexible toolkit for providing additional liquidity if deemed appropriate. The possible need for such stimulus will come up against the reality of an expanding public debt on the one hand, and inflationary concerns on the other. In this paper, I use simulations of the IHS Global Insight Model to assess the potential impact on the recovery path of alternative macro policies.

working paper


Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Hawaii: Household and Visitor Analysis

This paper focuses on petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with economic activities in Hawai‘i. Data on economic activity, petroleum consumption by type (gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, residual, propane), and emissions factors are compiled and analyzed. In the baseline year 1997, emissions are estimated to total approximately 23.2 million metric tons of carbon, 181 thousand metric tons of nitrous oxide, and 31 thousand metric tons of methane in terms of carbon-equivalent global warming potential over a 100-year horizon. Air transportation, electricity, and other transportation are the key economic activity responsible for GHG emissions associated with fossil fuel use. More than 22 percent of total emissions are attributed to visitor expenditures. On a per person per annum basis, emission rates generated by visitor demand are estimated to be higher than that of residents by a factor of 4.3 for carbon, 3.2 for methane, and 4.8 for nitrous oxide.

The full publication can be found at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140988309001133 

The Dog ATE my Economics Homework! Estimates of the Average Effect of Treating Hawaii’s Public High School Students with Economics

Hawaii is one of 27 states that do not require testing of public high school students regarding their understanding of economics. We report results for the first economics test administered to a large sample of students in Hawaii public high schools during the Spring 2004 semester. Our analysis focuses on evaluating the impact of a semester-long course in economics on student scores on a 20-question, multiple-choice economics test. We specify and estimate a regression analysis of exam scores that controls for other factors that could influence student performance on the exam. While student scores on the economics exam are relatively low, completion of an economics course and participation in a stock market simulation game each add about one point to student scores.

working paper

Analysis of Introduction of Plug-in Electric Hybrid Vehicles to Honolulu

The primary aim of this study is to understand the benefits and barriers which might be associated with the introduction of PHEV technology to Hawaii. This analysis illustrates that PHEV’s represent a much larger and more pervasive strategic opportunity than is generally appreciated in the State. Specific interests that guided our research were:

  • To estimate the impacts which relatively modest PHEV penetration rates might have on Hawaii’s GHG emission and fuel substitution goals.
  • To determine whether PHEV’s could be introduced to Hawaii without triggering major generating capacity additions.
  • To consider whether PHEV’s might play a role in optimizing the use of renewable wind resources that might otherwise be un-usable.
  • To assess the role of PHEV’s in the Hawaii’s attempt to control GHG emissions.

UHERO project report

Targeting Hawaii Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions: Emission Forecasts and Their Implications for Act 234

Act 234 calls for the state of Hawai‘i to return its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Under a business as usual environment, we forecast Hawai’i’s 2020 emissions to be between 18 and 34 percent above 1990 levels. Since transportation and electricity account for about 75 percent of Hawai’i’s GHG emissions, most likely a large share of the reductions will need to come from these sectors for Hawai’i’ to comply with Act 234.

Uhero project report

Using the Property Tax to Appropriate Gains from Tourism

This paper describes and evaluates the merits of Kauai County’s use of the property tax to capture rents from tourism and provide property tax relief to local homeowners. Because tourist accommodations are more capital intensive than other real estate, Kauai’s proposal to split the standard uniform rate into two separate rates—one on land and the another higher rate on improvements—results in heavier tax burdens for the tourist industry relative to other sectors of the local economy. We conclude that such an approach works well for Kauai and communities that desire slower and lower density development but may not work as well for others that wish to encourage tourism investment.

working paper

The Value of a Wave: An Analysis of the Mavericks Region Half Moon Bay, California

This study was commissioned by the Save the Waves Coalition to determine the value of the Mavericks surf area to the local community and beyond. 

working paper

Small State, Giant Tax Credit: Hawaii’s Leap into High Technology Development

This paper chronicles the evolution of Hawaii’s high technology tax credits, describes their provisions and the ensuing problems in attempting to ascertain whether or not they have achieved the results desired by lawmakers who passed them, and offers lessons that other states can use when designing their own business investment tax credit programs.

Published: Kato, A., S. LaCroix, J. Mak. 2009. Small State, Giant Tax Credit: Hawaii's Leap into High Technology Development. Pages 641-652 State Tax Notes. Tax Analysts, Falls Church, Virginia.

working paper version

Economic Education’s Roller Coaster Ride In Hawaii, 1965-2006

During the early 1960s a few of Hawaii’s public high schools began to offer economics courses, and they gradually became popular social studies electives. By 1999, over 46% of public high school seniors completed a one-semester course in economics. From this peak, enrollment rates would plummet to just 11% in 2003, before rebounding to 27% in 2005 and 2007. Our analysis searches for an explanation by identifying large changes in key variables and public policies that determine demand for and supply of economic education in Hawaii’s schools. We conclude that changes in the incentives facing large Hawaii businesses, University of Hawaii faculty and administrators, and bureaucrats in the State of Hawaii Department of Education have reduced the supply of qualified teachers and student enrollment rates.

working paper

The Contribution of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa to Hawai‘i’s Economy in 2007

The University of Hawai‘i at Manoa (UHM) had its beginnings in 1907 as a college of agriculture and mechanical arts. In 1912, the first permanent building was erected in Manoa valley in UHM’s current location. With the establishment of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1920, the College of Hawai‘i became a university. Statehood and the establishment of the University of Hawai‘i as the "state university" marked the beginning of a period of accelerating enrollment that resulted in the formation of a large diverse system. In 1965, the State Legislature created a statewide system of community colleges and placed it within the University of Hawai‘i, and in 1972, the flagship Manoa campus became the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

UHero Project report

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.

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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.

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