Blogs

Japan Update: Struggling to escape inflation’s drag May 21, 2024 By Byron Gangnes Like all countries, Japan was hit hard by COVID-19, and the economy has struggled to get back on track since. Some headwinds are familiar to Japan: the softness in foreign markets has hurt an economy for which exports remain an important source of growth. But the pandemic’s aftermath also brought very unfamiliar… Read More
Unclaimed: Over $15 million in Tax Credits for Low Income Households April 29, 2024 By Dylan T. Moore (UHERO) & Baybars Karacaovali (Office of Tax Research and Planning, Hawai'i Department of Taxation) In 2021, low-income households in Hawaii were eligible for about $42 million through the state’s refundable food/excise income tax credit. But over one third—or $15.3 million—of this money went unclaimed. These estimates come from a new analysis… Read More
Delinquencies have spiked in the aftermath of the Maui wildfires March 21, 2024 By Daniela Bond-Smith The devastating Maui wildfires destroyed most of Lahaina and displaced thousands of residents. But many Lahaina homeowners still have mortgages on their properties despite not having a home to go back to. As of the 2020 Census, almost three-quarters (74%; 1309 out of 1773) of Lahaina homeowners did not own their home free… Read More
The Gender Pay Gap in Hawaii March 12, 2024 By Rachel Inafuku In recognition of International Women's Day, which was recently celebrated on March 8, UHERO wishes to underscore the importance of women in the workforce by highlighting research on the gender pay gap in Hawaii that was presented in our latest forecast report. Please keep an eye out for forthcoming research that explores… Read More
The supply side: AI, immigration, and non-inflationary growth February 21, 2024 By Byron Gangnes Home from last week’s National Association for Business Economics Policy Conference in Washington DC. Not surprisingly, many of the sessions ended up touching on some aspects of artificial intelligence (AI). Back to this in a minute. But one topic that showed up in several sessions was how the supply side of the… Read More
Could the markets be right about coming Fed rate cuts? January 19, 2024 By Byron Gangnes There is a marked difference between what Fed officials expect about their likely rate cuts this year and what the financial markets expect. According to the median estimate of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members at their December 2023 meeting, three quarter-point cuts in the federal funds rate are likely this year.… Read More
Social, economic, and health impacts of the Red Hill fuel spill: preliminary survey results January 18, 2024 By Leah Bremer, Tara Sutton, Ruben Juarez, Nicole Siegal, Nathan DeMaagd *University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO), Water Resources Research Center (WRRC), Department of Geography and Environment, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. BackgroundOn November 20, 2021 the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility leaked approximately 19,000 gallons of jet fuel into the Pearl Harbor… Read More
Campus View From Tantalus Why College Is Worth the Investment: Estimating the Returns to a College Degree from the University of Hawai`i system January 16, 2024 By Tim Halliday and Rachel Inafuku Read the full report. Across the nation, the cost of higher education has significantly increased over the past 20 years [1]. The surge in tuition prompted the Biden Administration's plan to forgive $39 billion in student loan debt for approximately 800,000 borrowers. The ongoing concerns regarding college affordability have… Read More
Ecological Economics and the Circular Economy December 8, 2023 By Kimberly Burnett, James Roumasset, and Christopher Wada The Circular Economy In 1969, Belgian industrial designers Paul Jorion and Jacques Braijt proposed the circular concept of manufacturing products from recycled materials as opposed to the “linear” concept of producing them from mined or harvested raw materials and discarding the corresponding waste (short history here). The… Read More
Adaptation Strategies for Sea Level Rise: Perspectives from Hawaiʻi’s Elected Officials December 4, 2023 By Ketty A. Loeb and Colin D. Moore Read the full report. Due to its remote geographic location and extensive coastlines, the State of Hawai‘i is particularly vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise (SLR). While Hawai‘i was among the first states to officially recognize the climate crisis and has played a leading role… Read More
When is economic growth too strong? November 8, 2023 By Byron Gangnes To most of us, faster economic growth is a good thing. It reduces unemployment, raises profits and wages, and generates healthier government fiscal situations. (Of course, some might worry about the pressures of rapid growth on the environment.) But the Federal Reserve is concerned that continued strong growth in the US economy… Read More
Reducing fire risk and restoring value to fallow agricultural lands October 23, 2023 This blog was conceived via conversations among UHERO faculty and fellows from diverse backgrounds from environmental economics, ecosystem services, economic diversification, and fire and ecosystems. It is meant to stimulate conversation, research, and action towards pathways to address the critical problem of fire risk from unmanaged grasslands and opportunities to support more generative landscapes. We… Read More
The Nature, Causes, and Consequences of Student Deselection and Criminalization October 9, 2023 By Katherine Irwin and James Roumasset1 A central principle of public economics is that the government should correct market failures. For example, when a firm’s pollution imposes social cost on society—an externality—the market fails to provide an efficient allocation of resources. The externality can be corrected by forcing the firm to pay for the cost… Read More
No credit card binge, but burdens are rising September 28, 2023 By Byron Gangnes Credit card balances broke the $1 trillion mark recently, but their share of disposable income remains moderate by historical standards. And as the figure below also shows, they have risen only to pre-pandemic levels when expressed in real (inflation-adjusted) terms. There’s no debt binge out there. But interest rates have risen considerably… Read More
Economic Perspective of Maui’s Devastating Wildfires September 8, 2023 By James Mak, Paul Brewbaker, and Frank Haas Lahaina is a very special place with so much deep, rich history. Over time, it's evolved. It's been many things. It's been the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. It's been home base for generations of Maui chiefs. It's been a center of commerce in whaling. It's been… Read More