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Nowcasting Tourism Industry Performance Using High Frequency Covariates

We evaluate the short term forecasting performance of methods that systematically incorporate high frequency information via covariates. Our results indicate that including timely intra-period data into the forecasting process results in significant gains in predictive accuracy compared to relying exclusively on low frequency aggregates. Anticipating growing popularity of these tools among empirical analysts, we offer practical implementation guidelines to facilitate their adoption.

Working Paper

The Conversation: Carl Bonham on the State Forecast Update

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about UHERO's State Forecast Update: Except for Weather, Outlook Shines.



UHERO State Forecast Update: Except for Weather, Outlook Shines

Hawaii’s economic outlook continues to look bright. Tourism is pushing toward new records, and the construction upswing is building in strength. The overall expansion remains solidly on track, delivering better labor market conditions and the prospect of further household income gains. Still, in the midst of this hot and soggy summer we are pondering some ominous clouds forming out on the horizon.

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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KITV: Carl Bonham on Falling Gas Prices

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on KITV to talk about the effects of falling gas prices on Hawaii's economy, as well as the latest State Council on Revenues general fund forecast. 


The Conversation: Carl Bonham on the State Council on Revenues General Fund Forecast

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to discuss the State Council on Revenues forecast for the 2015 fiscal year.


ThinkTech Hawaii: Makena Coffman on Sustainable Hawaii

UHERO Research Fellow Makena Coffman appeared on ThinkTech Hawaii to discuss lifecycle analysis and greenhouse gas emissions.


Efficient Design of Net Metering Agreements in Hawaii and Beyond

In Hawaii, like most U.S. states, households installing rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems receive special pricing under net-metering agreements. These agreements allow households with rooftop solar to buy and sell electricity at the retail rate, effectively using the larger grid to store surplus generation from their panels during sunny times and return it when the sun isn’t shining. If a household generates more electricity than it consumes over the course of a month, it obtains a credit that rolls over for use in future months. Net generation supplied to the grid in excess of that consumed over the course of a full year is forfeited to the utility. 

Project Report

Balancing Opportunities and Costs in Hawaii's Increasingly Green Grid

Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy and oil-fired power plants make it the most oil dependent state in the United States. It also has the nation’s highest electricity prices, often between 3 and 4 times the national average over the last decade. These high prices, the state’s sunny and windy climate that make it amenable to increasingly economical renewable energy, plus a relatively progressive political culture have pushed the state to adopt an ambitious goal of being 100 percent renewable by 2045. Focusing mainly on the state’s largest grid on Oahu, where most people live, we discuss the cost structure of the current electricity system, the potential benefits and challenges of growing the share of renewable energy, and make a few policy suggestions. In particular, we argue that all homes and businesses should be given an opportunity to buy and sell electricity at the marginal cost of generation. Variable pricing could greatly reduce the cost of renewable energy, and perhaps seed development of Hawaii as a technology center focused on batteries and smart machines that can help shift electricity demand to align with the variable supply of solar and wind energy.

Working Paper

UHERO County Forecast: Neighbor Island Tourism Still Has Room to Grow

After a rather soft 2014, the counties are poised for better performance over the next several years. Tourism will see additional healthy gains on the Neighbor Islands for the next two years, before rising occupancy and costs begin to bring down growth rates, something that has already occurred on Oahu. Construction, which has disappointed so far, will become a significant contributor to growth. Gains in employment have brought unemployment rates down substantially, and moderate expansion of jobs and income will continue, helping to solidify the local spending leg of the economic expansion.

A summary of this forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed analysis, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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Factors Affecting EV Adoption: A Literature Review and EV Forecast for Hawaii

Electric Vehicles (EVs) reduce or negate gasoline or diesel use in vehicles through integration with the electric grid. Both plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)—which can draw from a battery as well as liquid fuel—and battery electric vehicles (BEVs)—solely powered through electricity—provide the opportunity for power-sharing with the electric grid and can potentially ease the integration of sources of intermittent renewable energy. This is a potentially important technology to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, local air pollution, and vehicular noise.

In this paper, we review studies informing the factors that affect EV adoption. We also review and harmonize studies that develop forecasts of EV adoption over time. We select a set of forecasts that represent low, reference, and high EV adoption and apply them to Hawaii-specific EV and car sales data to provide a preliminary forecast of potential EV adoption in Hawaii.

Read the full report on the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute website

Can Energy Efficiency Standards Reduce Prices and Improve Quality? Evidence from the US Clothes Washer Market

We examine the effect of energy efficiency standards on the clothes washers market using a constant-quality price index constructed from same-model price changes for a significant majority of clothes washer models sold in the United States between 2001 and 2011. We find constant-quality prices fell over time, while quality increased, particularly around times energy standards changed. We estimate total welfare changes by assuming the difference between average price and constant-quality price indicates average quality. Further examination shows product entry and exit are associated with changes federal standard for energy efficiency. With policy changes implicitly coordinating entry and exit, average vintage sharply falls when standards change. Controlling for individual model and time effects, we find that lower average vintage is associated with more rapidly falling prices, an effect we attribute to increased competition. We also find a strong relationship between clothes washer prices and average vintage of the same manufacturer, which indicates cannibalism explains much of the declining price of clothes washers over time. We apply the same methodology to other appliances (clothes dryer, room air conditioners and refrigerators) which did not experience simultaneous efficiency standard changes between 2001 and 2011. We see the same cannibalism in the market for clothes dryers, but not for room air conditioners or refrigerators. We also find notable improvements both in the characteristics of clothes washers that directly improve energy efficiency and those that promote convenience and space-saving. Energy efficiency standards appear to facilitate more rapid innovation and price declines.

working Paper

Hawaii News Now: Carl Bonham on Sunrise with Howard Dicus

Posted May 22, 2015 | Categories: Media, Hawaii's Economy

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on Sunrise to discuss the latest Hawaii Council on Revenues meeting and the revised economic forecast for the 2015 fiscal year.


Vog: Using Volcanic Eruptions to Estimate the Health Costs of Particulates and SO2

Kılauea volcano is the largest stationary source of SO2 pollution in the United States of America. Moreover, the SO2 that the volcano emits eventually forms particulate matter, another major pollutant. We use this exogenous source of pollution variation to estimate the impact of particulate matter and SO2 on emergency room admissions and costs in the state of Hawai‘i. Importantly, our data on costs is more accurate than the measures used in much of the literature. We find strong evidence that particulate pollution increases pulmonary-related hospitalization. Specifically, a one standard deviation increase in particulate pollution leads to a 2-3% increase in expenditures on emergency room visits for pulmonary-related outcomes. However, we do not find strong effects for pure SO2 pollution or for cardiovascular outcomes. We also find no effect of volcanic pollution on fractures, our placebo outcome. Finally, the effects of particulate pollution on pulmonary-related admissions are most concentrated among the very young. Our estimates suggest that, since the large increase in emissions that began in 2008, the volcano has increased healthcare costs in Hawai‘i by approximately $6,277,204.


Sumner La Croix on PBS Hawaii Insights: Will Our Children Ever Be Able to Afford to Live in Hawaii?

There seems to be no end to the rising cost of living in Hawaii. The high prices of housing, groceries, gas and other necessities make it more and more difficult for us to live in today's paradise. But what about our children? If it's this hard to make ends meet now, what will life in Hawaii be like for future generations? UHERO's Sumner La Croix joins Daryl Huff and guests on Insights on PBS Hawaii to discuss how these issues impact the islands' middle class residents. 


The Conversation: Carl Bonham on the Hawaii Construction Forecast

Posted March 30, 2015 | Categories: Media

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about UHERO's Hawaii Construction Forecast: Construction Building Up.



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