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RECENT POSTS

Identifying priority watershed management areas for groundwater recharge protection on Hawai‘i Island

Charting a New Fiscal Course for Hawaii: A Fiscal Architecture Approach

Annual Hawaii Forecast with Global Outlook: After a Cloudy 2019, New Year Looks a Bit Brighter

Do natural disasters make sustainable growth impossible?

Economic Impact of the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority Tenant on the State of Hawaii in 2018

Hawaii Construction Forecast: Planned Projects Support Healthy Construction Outlook

UHERO State Forecast Update: Already weak, Hawaii’s prospects look increasingly dicey

Wellbeing and Housing Report Supplement

Drivers of well-being in Hawaii: Quantifying individual and community impacts

Characterizing Hawai‘i’s Natural Resources Management Sector


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Identifying priority watershed management areas for groundwater recharge protection on Hawai‘i Island

This report provides an analysis of the relative effectiveness of watershed conservation and restoration efforts in terms of groundwater recharge benefits in Hawaiʻi County Department of Water Supply (DWS) priority aquifers and recharge areas. In Kohala, Kona, and Kaʻū. With financial support from DWS and the National Science Foundation, EPSCoR ʻIke Wai project, this study builds upon a previous effort funded by the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation (HCF). Specifically, this report extends the previous report for HCF by: 1) expanding the area of interest to include priority recharge areas as well as target aquifers identified by DWS; 2) including an analysis of potential spread of non-native grassland into native forest areas; 3) including an analysis of changes in potential fog interception with change in land cover; and 4) adding an assessment of priority areas for native forest restoration.

UHERO Report

 


Charting a New Fiscal Course for Hawaii: A Fiscal Architecture Approach

The Hawai’i Executive Conference (HEC)’s recent report, Troubled Waters: Charting a New Fiscal Course For Hawaii, makes a compelling case for the Hawaii community to focus on “the future fiscal capacity of Hawaii state and local governments.” HEC examines three public expenditure challenges totaling $88.4 billion that residents will likely face over the next thirty years: (i) addressing public employee pension and retire health obligations ($25.7 billion) ; (ii) building and maintaining a 21st century physical infrastructure ($47.4 billion); and (iii) preparing for natural disasters, sea level rise and climate change ($15.3 billion).

UHERO Brief

 


Annual Hawaii Forecast with Global Outlook: After a Cloudy 2019, New Year Looks a Bit Brighter

Hawaii’s economy has entered a soft patch. Falling real visitor spending and a declining population have suppressed demand and halted growth in nonfarm payrolls. But the construction industry is holding up, and the number of visitor arrivals continues to grow. Following this year’s weakness, we expect some improvement in the external environment, which will help us edge back onto a positive, if restrained, growth path.

This executive summary is provided as a service to the public. For a complete analysis and detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO’s Forecast Project.

PUBLIC SUMMARYSUBSCRIBE

 

 


Do natural disasters make sustainable growth impossible?

We consider the prospects for sustainable growth using expected utility models of optimal investment under threat from natural disasters. Adoption of a continuous time, stochastic Ramsey growth model over an infinite time horizon permits the analysis of sustainability under uncertainty regarding adverse events, including both one-time and recurrent disasters. As appropriate to small economies, we consider adaptation to the risk of disaster. Natural disasters reduce capital stocks and disrupt the optimal consumption and felicity paths. While the time path of inter-temporal welfare might consequently shift downward, the path may still be non-decreasing over time, even without adding strong or weak sustainability constraints. Prudent disaster preparedness includes precautionary investment in productive capital, programs of adaptation to disaster risk, and avoiding distortionary policies undermining the prospects of optimality and sustainability.

Published: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41885-019-00054-y

Working Paper


Economic Impact of the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority Tenant on the State of Hawaii in 2018

NELHA contracted the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) to estimate its economic impact on the State of Hawaii. To estimate expenditures made by NELHA tenants in 2018, UHERO researchers developed a survey where expenditures were broken down into 17 named categories and respondents were asked to provide total expenditures in 2018 and the share of these expenditures that were paid to Hawaii vendors. UHERO received responses from 36 NELHA companies (out of 44). Expenditure levels for the survey non-respondents were estimated using various techniques. Total NELHA tenant expenditures were estimated at $92.4 million, of which approximately $64.5 million (or 70%) were paid to Hawaii entities. Following a standard approach, UHERO defined economic impact to be the direct, indirect, and induced economic activities generated by the tenant’s spending in the Hawaii economy. The 2012 20-sector State Input- Output (I-O) model of the State of Hawaii prepared by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) was used to evaluate these impacts. The impact of NELHA’s in-state expenditures in 2018 on the State’s output (sales), earnings, and tax revenues was estimated to be $103.6, $25.5, and $4.8 million respectively. Furthermore, not only do NELHA tenants employ hundreds of people but their expenditures also contribute to hundreds of other jobs in the larger Hawaii economy (509 total excluding NELHA employees; NELHA itself employs an additional 17 people).

UHERO Report

 


Hawaii Construction Forecast: Planned Projects Support Healthy Construction Outlook

Hawaii construction activity continues at a healthy pace, with a modest pickup over the past year. New and pending projects, particularly high-rise residential building on Oahu, will sustain construction employment near its current level for the next several years. Planned large-scale public sector projects will provide additional support. The primary risk to this forecast is a falloff in demand that could come from weakening local and global economic conditions.

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: Already weak, Hawaii’s prospects look increasingly dicey

Hawaii’s slowing has deepened in 2019. Two years of population decline have undercut demand in many sectors. While tourism is generating impressive visitor numbers, there has been a sharp pullback in international markets. Add to that the crackdown on Oahu home vacation rentals, and prospects for further tourism growth look poor. Construction remains a bright spot, at least for now. We expect Hawaii to tread water over the next few years, vulnerable to waves that could well pull us under.

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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Wellbeing and Housing Report Supplement

The goal of this report is to summarize how neighborhood housing price appreciation can impact quality of life beyond individual level impacts (see Love and Garboden 2019). We first discuss how housing market indicators, particularly appreciation, can be measured and summarize different patterns across Hawaii. In answer to our our main question, we find few statistically significant associations between these measures and well-being. Data limitations, however, restrict our ability to assert a null effect. We conclude with next steps for research.

Working Paper


Drivers of well-being in Hawaii: Quantifying individual and community impacts

In Gallup’s annual well-being index, Hawaii occupied the #1 spot among US states for six out of the past 10 years (slipping to #3 in the latest 2017 survey) despite having one of the nation’s highest costs of living. Thus, Hawaii presents a unique environment to study happiness and well-being. This report presents our analysis of which individual and community factors are most associated with well-being.

Working Paper


Characterizing Hawai‘i’s Natural Resources Management Sector

This report provides an update to the 2015 “Recent Trends in Hawai‘i’s Green Economy: Agriculture, Energy, and Natural Resource Management” publication, the second update since our original report in 2012. Hawai‘i’s natural resource management jobs were at least 4,697 in 2018, 33% higher than reported for 2014, which is equivalent to an annual growth rate of roughly 7%.

According to survey data, Hawai‘i’s natural resource management expenditures were at least $542 million in 2018, roughly equal to expenditures reported for 2014.

UHERO Report

 


Cabotage Sabotage? The Curious Case of the Jones Act

This paper examines the economic implications of the Jones Act, which is a 1920 U.S. cabotage law that restricts domestic waterborne shipments to American vessels. The rapid rise of the Asian shipbuilding industry over the last century has contributed to the closure of most American shipyards and to the decline in American built ships. Thus, the Jones Act requirements have become more onerous over time. The results show that the decline in Jones-Act-eligible vessels, instrumented for using shipbuilding in another high-income country, has reduced domestic waterborne shipments into U.S. states relative to other modes of transport and relative to waterborne imports. These findings are stronger in coastal states and for commodities that are typically transported via water. Furthermore, there is evidence that this reduction in domestic trade, due to the Jones Act, has increased consumer prices. These findings support common, but to date unverified, claims that the Jones Act impedes domestic trade and drives up prices.

Working Paper


Combinatorial Optimization for Urban Planning: Strategic Demolition of Abandoned Houses in Baltimore, MD

In 2017, Baltimore City was awarded $75 million dollars earmarked for the targeted demolition of a portion of its 16,000 vacant and abandoned buildings. Selecting an optimal set of demolition targets is difficult given that the cost per demolition is not independent of the overall demolition pattern; like many older cities, Baltimore’s abandoned housing includes a large number of attached rowhouses, which require the construction of retaining walls when a demolished home abuts a non-demolished home. In this paper, we present a method by which planners can use integer linear programming to identify optimal demolition targets for a number of potential objectives. The simplest objective, demolishing the maximum number of houses for a specific budget, is compared to more complex functions that attempt to proxy improved quality of life resulting from the demolitions. The results of different objective functions are then assessed in terms of equity and efficiency using the spatial distribution of proposed targets as a point of comparison.

Working Paper


Dynamic Factor Models

Dynamic factor models are parsimonious representations of relationships among time series variables. With the surge in data availability, they have proven to be indispensable in macroeconomic forecasting. This chapter surveys the evolution of these models from their pre-big-data origins to the large-scale models of recent years. We review the associated estimation theory, forecasting approaches, and several extensions of the basic framework.

Working Paper


Sources and Types of Big Data for Macroeconomic Forecasting

This chapter considers the types of Big Data that have proven useful for macroeconomic forecasting. It first presents the various definitions of Big Data, proposing one we believe is most useful for forecasting. The literature on both the opportunities and challenges of Big Data are presented. It then proposes a taxonomy of the types of Big Data: 1) Financial Market Data; 2) E-Commerce and Credit Cards; 3) Mobile Phones; 4) Search; 5) Social Media Data; 6) Textual Data; 7) Sensors, and The Internet of Things; 8) Transportation Data; 9) Other Administrative Data. Noteworthy studies are described throughout.

Working Paper


UHERO County Forecast: Counties see synchronized slowing

Posted May 17, 2019 | Categories: Forecasts

Over the past year, there has been a broad slowing of growth across the four counties. To varying degrees, each has seen a falloff in tourism activity and a slowing of employment growth in a number of sectors. Our near-term outlook for all counties remains muted, reflecting limits to growth in a still-tight labor market, restrained tourism prospects, and a mature construction expansion.

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.

PUBLIC SUMMARYSUBSCRIBE

 


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