students walking at UH Manoa campus Wealth by Association? How Social Networks Drive Inequality in Hawaii April 25, 2024 Studies show that economic connectedness, a poor individual’s share of wealthy friends, significantly impacts economic mobility. Hawaii ranks highly in this metric compared to other states, but disparities exist in local schools. Private high schools have much higher economic connectedness than public schools, driven mainly by students' exposure to wealthy peers. To improve connectedness, policymakers… Read More
Taxing Tourists to Generate Revenue to Address the Negative Impacts of Climate Change on Hawai‘i Natural Resources April 5, 2024 There is widespread agreement among Hawai‘i residents that the state government needs to spend more money on natural resource stewardship. A critical question is how best to pay for it. In his January 2024 State of the State Address, Governor Josh Green said that “we must do more to protect our beaches, parks, and other… Read More
Dissolving the Hawaii Tourism Authority April 5, 2023 Read the summary blog post. By Paul Brewbaker, Frank Haas, and James Mak State lawmakers in the 2023 state legislature are bashing the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)…again! This year, the existence of HTA is at stake. Two bills (Senate Bill SB 1522 SD2 and House Bill HB1375 SD3) propose to repeal the HTA although they… Read More
Hawaii Senate Floor Public Campaign Financing: Evidence and Opportunities for Hawai‘i February 28, 2023 By Colin Moore Concerns about the corrupting influence of money in politics have led to renewed interest in public campaign financing. Some argue that using public funds to pay for political campaigns can alleviate the inequalities that are endemic to politics in the United States. Does public financing for elections work? How effective is Hawai‘i’s current… Read More
Magic Island by Juo Leung Hawai‘i Tourism in Search of the Promised Land October 10, 2022 By Paul Brewbaker, Frank Haas and James Mak Public pressure has been mounting on the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) to shift its focus from mainly marketing to destination management to mitigate tourism’s negative impacts on the community. HTA’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan states that “This is the first strategic plan developed while HTA is re-balancing our… Read More
Measuring the Burden of Housing Regulation in Hawaii April 14, 2022 By Rachel Inafuku, Justin Tyndall, and Carl Bonham Home prices in Hawaii are among the highest in the nation: in 2021 the median single-family home resale price was about two and a half times the national median. One of the factors that may explain Hawaii’s high home prices are government regulations that limit the ability of the housing market to… Read More
Honolulu Star Advertiser article on COVID-19 vaccines COVID-19 Mandates: Recommendations for Hawaiʻi Businesses August 23, 2021 Read the summary blog post. By Ruben Juarez, Alika Maunakea, May Okihiro, and Carl Bonham Faced with the largest increase in cases since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii needs effective solutions that would reduce the number of cases disproportionately ravaging communities in the state. In August 2021, the University of Hawaii Economic Research… Read More
Waikiki beach Developing a Dream Destination: From Laissez-Faire to Destination Management July 19, 2021 Read the summary blog post. By James Mak In 2008, I published an interpretive history of how public policies toward tourism in Hawaii changed over nearly half a century from statehood until circa 2005. During much of this period, tourism in Hawaii was booming until the 1990s, followed by a period of relative stagnation. The… Read More
Coffee farm The Agricultural Economic Landscape in Hawai‘i and the Potential for Future Economic Viability June 11, 2021 By Sarah Rehkamp, Michael J. Roberts, and James M. MacDonald In a recent UHERO policy brief, Reviving Agriculture to Diversify Hawai‘i’s Economy, authors pointed to trends in Hawai‘i agriculture and state policies surrounding agricultural land management (La Croix & Mak, 2021). Hawai‘i’s agricultural history has centered around the pineapple and sugar plantations and these are… Read More
Kawaikui Beach Taxing Income in the New World of Teleworking May 28, 2021 By Robert D. Ebel and James Mak Covid-19 has accelerated the growth of teleworking/telecommuting in the U.S. As a result, states are having to confront the challenge of determining how best to tax the incomes of employees who live in one state but work remotely for employers located in another state. In Hawaii a resident… Read More
Time lapse Honolulu highway Traffic in Honolulu: How to Make Transitory Pandemic Gains Permanent April 26, 2021 By Justin Tyndall and Sumner La Croix During the COVID-19 pandemic, Honolulu traffic became much less congested.  Local and state governments could help residents keep the social benefits from traffic control by providing incentives to private firms to stagger hours and/or keep more employees working at home. A congestion zone fee to drive within the downtown-to-Waikiki corridor… Read More
Waikiki by Micahel Olsen/Unsplash Location, Location, Location! A uniquely Hawai‘i economic development strategy April 9, 2021 Read the summary blog post. By Steven Bond-Smith Hawaiʻi’s economy is in trouble. Unemployment is typically low in Hawai‘i and it was close to an all-time low in March 2020 at just 2.1 per cent. But Covid-19 has ravaged the visitor industry. Business travel and tourism have dried up due to public health restrictions and… Read More
UH West Oahu ACM Understanding the Role of the Hawaii Film/TV/Digital Production Tax Credit In Diversifying the Hawaii Economy March 15, 2021 By Sumner La Croix and James Mak Blog: The Hawaii Film Tax Credit: An Update Hawaii is one of 32 states in 2020 to offer a tax credit to film, TV, and digital productions through the Hawaii Motion Picture, Digital Media and Film Production Tax Credit (hereafter “film credit”). Since the passage of the film… Read More
Linking Land and Water Management to Culturally and Ecologically Important Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems March 4, 2021 Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs) are ecosystems which rely on groundwater. In Kona, Hawaiʻi coastal GDEs include: fish ponds (loko iʻa), anchialine pools, and nearshore ecosystems. Communities and agencies are working to restore and protect these ecosystems for their linked cultural and ecological values, and seek information on the interacting impacts of wastewater management, urban development,… Read More
Vegetables at Foodland Reviving Agriculture to Diversify Hawaii’s Economy January 21, 2021 Hawaii state policymakers have identified agriculture as a sector capable of substantial expansion as part of the state’s efforts to diversify the economy. Agriculture has, however, been in decline in Hawaii for the last 40 years despite the presence of two state programs designed to keep lands in agriculture (the Important Agricultural Lands (IAL) program)… Read More