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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.

WORKING PAPER


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. 

WATCH


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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Hawaii Construction Forecast: Construction Building Up

Posted March 27, 2015 | Categories: Forecasts

Last year’s construction gains were smaller than anticipated. Activity will ramp up a bit this year, as Kakaako condo building intensifies and new tourism-related projects add to the mix. The more attenuated schedule of rail building and lagging single-family development will generate a lower and later peak to the current construction cycle.

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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Economic Impact of the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority Tenants on the State of Hawaii

The Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority (NELHA) contracted UHERO to estimate its economic impact on the State of Hawaii. NELHA currently accommodates 37 tenants ranging from companies bottling deep sea water to solar and biofuel companies. These tenants pay close to $2 million in rent, royalties and pass through expense directly to NELHA. In addition, they employ hundreds of people, purchase goods and services from local businesses, and invest in capital improvements at NELHA.

This research determines NELHA’s contribution to local business sales, employee earnings, tax revenues, and number of jobs in Hawaii from the expenditures of its tenants in 2013. NELHA provides additional benefits to the state of Hawaii that this study does not capture but are important to consider when evaluating NELHA’s overall footprint on the economy.

PROJECT REPORT


The Conversation: Byron Gangnes on the State Forecast Update

Posted February 27, 2015 | Categories: Media

UHERO Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Economics Byron Gangnes appears on The Conversation to talk about UHERO's State Forecast Update: Hawaii on Steady Course for 2015.

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Hawaii News Now: Carl Bonham on the State Forecast Update

Posted February 27, 2015 | Categories: Media

UHERO Executive Director and Professor of Economics Carl Bonham appears on Sunrise with Howard Dicus to discuss UHERO's latest State Forecast Update: Hawaii on Steady Course for 2015.

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UHERO State Forecast Update: Hawaii on Steady Course for 2015

The Hawaii economy in 2015 will look a lot like last year’s. Tourism will see only marginal gains, but steady labor market improvement will continue, and there will be moderate income growth. While not all damage from the past recession has been repaired, by many measures economic activity in the state is returning to normal.

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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Creating "Paradise of the Pacific": How Tourism Began in Hawaii

This article recounts the early years of one of the most successful tourist destinations in the world, Hawaii, from about 1870 to 1940. Tourism began in Hawaii when faster and more predictable steamships replaced sailing vessels in trans-Pacific travel. Governments (international, national, and local) were influential in shaping the way Hawaii tourism developed, from government mail subsidies to steamship companies, local funding for tourism promotion, and America’s protective legislation on domestic shipping. Hawaii also reaped a windfall from its location at the crossroads of the major trade routes in the Pacific region. The article concludes with policy lessons.

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Chamber of Commerce Hawaii: State of the Economy Presentation

Carl Bonham presented this 2014 economic recap and 2015 forecast on January 20, 2015 at an event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii.

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The Economic Impact of Astronomy in Hawai‘i

The astronomy sector in Hawaii generates economic activity through its purchases from local businesses, its payment to its employees, and spending by students and visitors. In collaboration with the Institute for Astronomy, a survey was designed to obtain information from astronomy related entities about in-state expenditures. The collected survey data was used to estimate the astronomy sector’s total economic activity in each of Hawaii’s counties for the calendar year 2012. Following a standard Input-Output approach, we define economic impact to be the direct, indirect, and induced economic activities generated by the astronomy sector’s expenditures in the state economy, taking into account inter-county feedback and spillover effects.

Local astronomy related expenditures in calendar year 2012 were $58.43 million, $25.80 million, $1.28 million, and $2.58 million in Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui counties respectively. Total astronomy related spending in the state was $88.09 million. Including indirect and induced benefits and adjusting for inter-county feedback and spillover effects, the astronomy sector had a total impact of $167.86 million statewide. The largest impact was found to be in Hawaii County ($91.48 million), followed by Honolulu County ($68.43 million). Impacts were found to be relatively small in Maui County ($5.34 million) and Kauai County ($2.61 million). In addition to contributing to output, astronomy activities generated $52.26 million in earnings, $8.15 million in state taxes, and 1,394 jobs statewide.

PROJECT REPORT


The Conversation: Byron Gangnes on the Asia-Pacific Forecast

Posted December 8, 2014 | Categories: Media

UHERO Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Economics Byron Gangnes appears on The Conversation to talk about UHERO's State Forecast Update: Hawaii's Economy in Need of an Engine.

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UHERO Asia-Pacific Forecast: Moderate Regional Growth Faces Rising Risks

Posted December 4, 2014 | Categories: Forecasts

The Asia-Pacific economy slowed this year, and only slight acceleration is expected in 2015. While US economic conditions are steadily improving, Japan has had to delay for now additional tax hikes after the first one prompted contraction. Lower oil prices will be an overall plus for the global economy, even if they pose challenges for commodity exporters. China’s structural transformation and the eurozone’s struggle to move onto a satisfactory growth path continue to hold back global trade. This limits prospects for exportdependent East and Southeast Asia.

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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UHERO Brief: An Economic and GHG Analysis of LNG in Hawaii

Hawaii currently meets the majority of its electricity needs through oil-fired generation – causing rates to be nearly four times the national average. In response to rising oil prices and in line with State-led action combating climate change, Hawaii is aggressively pursuing alternative sources of energy for its electric sector. Hawaii’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) states that utilities must meet 40% of electricity sales with renewable sources of energy by the year 2030; however, the remaining 60% can come from fossil fuels. Lower natural gas prices as a result of the “shale gas revolution” is in part why the State and key stakeholders are deliberating importing large amounts of natural gas in liquefied form (liquefied natural gas or LNG) for use in the electric sector.

This study builds upon past Hawaii-based LNG studies and extends the analysis by assessing both the macroeconomic and electricity sector impacts of using natural gas for power generation. We draw upon two recent studies, by Facts Global Energy (2012) and Galway Energy Advisors (2013) for price estimates. In addition to economic outcomes, this study estimates GHG emissions impacts as well as qualitatively discusses other environmental impacts related to the extraction of natural gas.


UHERO BRIEF

 

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An Economic and GHG Analysis of LNG in Hawaii

Hawaii currently meets the majority of its electricity needs through costly oil-fired generation causing rates to be nearly four times the national average (EIA, 2013a). The "shale gas revolution" has led to rapidly declining natural gas prices within the continental U.S. The emergence of a natural gas market that is de-linked from oil prices has renewed Hawaii's interest in natural gas imports. Potentially lower natural gas prices as well as the view that it will help to reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions and increase energy supply security through domestic sourcing are major reasons why the State and key stakeholders are deliberating over importing large amounts of natural gas in liquefied form (liquefied natural gas or LNG). This study uses detailed models of Hawaii's electric sector and overall economy to estimate the impacts of Hawaii importing LNG for use in the electric sector.

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