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Joint Management of an Interconnected Coastal Aquifer and Invasive Tree

Kiawe (Prosopis pallida), a mesquite tree considered invasive in many parts of the world including Hawai‘i, has been shown to reduce regional groundwater levels via deep taproots. In areas where aquifers are primary sources of fresh water, kiawe control has the potential to be an integral component of water management planning. We develop an analytical dynamic framework for the joint management of kiawe and groundwater, and show that optimal water management depends on expected kiawe damages, while optimal kiawe removal depends on groundwater scarcity and removal cost. Using data from the Kīholo aquifer on the west coast of Hawai‘i Island, we solve for joint management decisions with corresponding parameters related to kiawe damage and water scarcity. With 1.5% water demand growth, Kiawe should be removed if the removal cost is below $1,884/ha. Our numerical results indicate that kiawe damage is nonlinear in the rate of water demand growth. The damage costs can be attributed to three main factors. When demand growth is low, kiawe damage is driven by a higher water extraction cost. For moderate growth, the effect is compounded by anticipated future scarcity. Damage is amplified by a backstop cost effect when the growth rate is high.

Working Paper


Estimating Cost-Effectiveness of Hawaiian Dry Forest Restoration Using Spatial Changes in Water Yield and Landscape Flammability Under Climate Change open access

New research published in Pacific Science from an interdisciplinary team including UHERO's Christopher Wada, Leah Bremer, and Kim Burnett identifying cost-effective watershed restoration for multiple ecosystem service benefits in Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a on the island of Hawai‘i.

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The Conversation: Carl Bonham on the UHERO State Forecast Update

Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about the UHERO State Forecast Update: Slowing Ongoing, Despite Arrivals Boom.

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UHERO State Forecast Update: Slowing Ongoing, Despite Arrivals Boom

The Hawaii economy is decelerating. Job growth this year will come in at less than 1%, down from nearly 2% just two years ago, the consequence of a flattening construction path and the natural effects of tightening labor markets. Despite surprisingly persistent gains, even the robust tourism industry will move to a lower growth trend as capacity constraints exert themselves. Overall, growth in the number of jobs will downshift to about a half-percent per year by the end of the decade.

This analysis and near-term forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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Hawaii Construction Forecast: Construction Easing, But More in the Pipeline

After several years of rapid expansion, the pace of building has eased. A number of significant condo and retail projects have wrapped up on Oahu, while fewer new buildings have broken ground, resulting in an overall reduction in construction activity and employment. But statewide there remain enough new projects in the pipeline to maintain construction activity near its current level through the end of the decade.

This analysis and near-term forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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A New Perspective on Hawaii’s Economy: understanding the role of clusters

Clusters are regional concentrations of related industries that arise because firms can benefit from being geographically close to one another. Proximity lowers transportation costs and fosters knowledge and labor sharing. As a result, the spatial concentration of economic activity is often a defining characteristic of regions. To better understand Hawaii’s economy and prospects for growth, we document Hawaii’s economic clusters at the state and county level and make comparisons to other US counties with similar characteristics.

UHERO Report

 


HPR: Carl Bonham on Hawaii's Transient Accommodation Tax

Carl Bonham joins Hawaii Public Radio to explain why lawmakers favor Hawaii’s Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) as a source of revenue.
For a history of the TAT, see UHERO Fellow Jim Mak's paper
How Hawaii’s State Government Shares Transient Accommodation Tax Revenues With Its Local Governments

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UHERO County Forecast: Economies Still Growing, But Slowing

Prospects are good for continued growth in each of Hawaii’s four counties, if at a slower pace than in recent years. The tourism expansion has staying power, but capacity constraints will necessarily limit future gains. Construction is approaching or settling at the peak for this cycle, and tight labor markets will mean a deceleration of growth across other sectors. The counties share common risks, primarily from the continuing policy uncertainties emanating from Washington, DC.

This analysis and near-term forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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UHERO State Forecast Update: Growth Continues, For Now

Hawaii’s economy has started the year in fine form. Moderate job and income growth are continuing, and generally favorable global and national conditions are maintaining impressive tourism numbers. The construction buildup has eased, but the industry remains very active. While developments in Washington could hurt us, for now prospects look good for continued growth, if at a less rapid pace than we have seen in recent years.

This analysis and near-term forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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The Conversation: Sumner La Croix on Replacing the Aloha Stadium

Sumner La Croix appears on The Conversation to discuss the possibility of replacing the Aloha Stadium.

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Effect of Electric Vehicles on Design, Operation and Cost of a 100% Renewable Power System

This report outlines the effect that electric vehicles could have on the cost of transport and electricity production in the context of a 100% renewable power system (RPS). Results presented here were produced using the SWITCH power system planning model, configured to choose a least-cost plan to achieve 100% renewable power on Oahu by 2045, subject to a 5% limit on biofuel usage.

Working Paper


Insights on PBS Hawaii: Sumner LaCroix on "Should We Change The Minimum Wage to a Living Wage?"

Despite taking Hawaii’s minimum wage up to $9.25 an hour – and a scheduled increase to $10.10 effective next year – Hawaii’s minimum wage workers are faced with an impossible challenge: the biggest gap nationally between a state’s minimum hourly wage and the most basic earnings required to meet the local cost of living. Should we change the minimum wage to a living wage? Sumner La Croix joins Yunji De Nies and guests on Insights on PBS Hawaii to discuss potential impact.

WATCH


The Conversation: Jonathan Page on the Benefits of a UH Education

Jonathan Page appears on The Conversation to discuss our latest UHERO Report: Financial Benefits to a University of Hawaii Education.

LISTENUHERO REPORT


Financial Benefits to a University of Hawaii Education

Each year in the State of Hawaii, over 11,000 graduating seniors must decide whether to attend college or join the workforce. This report estimates the potential rate of return for associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and post-graduate degrees from the University of Hawaii (UH) system using a standard approach.

UHERO Report

 


Is Hawaii's Hotel Room Tax Law Obsolete?

With tax collections falling behind expectations, State lawmakers are pressuring the tax department to increase effort to collect uncollected taxes from internet sales.* In 2015 the State Attorney General’s Office scored a “major” victory when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that online travel companies (OTCs) are required to pay Hawaii’s general excise tax (GET) on their hotel bookings. Subsequently, the Tax Appeal Court ordered OTCs to pay $53.1 million in back general excise taxes plus interest to the state.

*Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser, “Collection of online taxes pushed,” January 29, 2017.

UHERO Brief


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