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Hawaii Construction Forecast: Building Cycle Approaches Peak

Construction has accelerated over the past year and will approach its cyclical peak over the next. Jobs and income are now growing at double-digit rates, driven by strength across all major sub-sectors and, increasingly, all counties. Increments to growth will be much smaller going forward, and activity will begin to fall off by 2018 as the surge in resort and condo building wanes, costs for builders and homebuyers mount, and global economic conditions become less favorable.

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: Hawaii Growth Downshifting

Hawaii’s economy continues to roll along, but with signs of a slowdown ahead. The environment for tourism remains guarded, and the maturing of the construction cycle will remove what has been a major impetus for growth. Compared with recent experience, average rates of growth for jobs and income will trend lower over the next several years.

This analysis and near-term forecast was provided to Sponsors and Subscribers as part of the UHERO Construction Forecast. For more detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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Global Value Chains and Changing Trade Elasticities

The trade collapse of 2008-2009 and the anemic trade growth since then raise the question of whether trade elasticities may be undergoing fundamental structural change. A potential source of such change is the spread of global value chains (GVCs), which have brought a marked increase in the use of intermediate goods and changes in the nature of trade competition. We review the recent literature on the impact of GVCs on measured trade elasticities and the ways in which their emergence may affect how we estimate and interpret trade responsiveness. We then draw out a few implications of recent research for global modeling.

WORKING PAPER


The Conversation: Carl Bonham on Potential Problems with Monetary Policy in the Future & Long Term Lack of Inflation

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about whether low interest rates and low inflation have become the new normal.

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Estimating the Opportunity for Load-Shifting in Hawaii: An Analysis of Proposed Residential Time-of-Use Rates

Hawaii’s largest electric utility, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) and its subsidiaries recently proposed a Time of Use (TOU) pricing scheme for residential rates. The TOU scheme has three tiers of prices: daytime, on-peak, and nighttime. The proposed rates have the highest cost during the on-peak period from 5pm to 10pm. For Oahu, the lowest cost is at nighttime, from 10pm to 9am. The difference between high and low rates is $0.33/kWh. For Maui and Hawaii Island, the lowest cost is during the daytime, 9am to 5pm. The difference between high and low rates are $0.35/kWh and $0.50/kWh, respectively. It is not stated whether the rates will be implemented as an opt-in, opt-out or mandatory program. This report summarizes literature on time varying pricing for residential rates to inform Hawaii’s electricity stakeholders, including ratepayers and policy-makers, of the potential impacts and considerations regarding the potential for TOU pricing in Hawaii.

Working Paper


Electric Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Assessment for Hawaii

This study estimates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of electric vehicles (EVs) compared to that of other popular and similar cars in Hawaii, by county over an assumption of 150,000 miles driven. The GHG benefits of EVs depend critically on the electricity system from which they derive their power. The analysis shows that EVs statewide are an improvement in GHG emissions over similar and popular internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs). Due to Oahu’s relatively high dependence on fossil fuels, including coal-burning, however, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) offer an improvement over EVs. Notably, Oahu also has the most EVs on the road. Hawaii Island, where there are few EVs on the road, shows a clear GHG benefit from EVs because of its high penetration of low carbon sources for electricity. This difference in benefits suggests that policies supporting EV uptake should consider impacts per island, based on available types of electricity generation. For example, because EVs on Hawaii Island provide near to mid-term GHG benefits, there should be assessment of provision of fast-charging stations to overcome potential range anxiety. Until Oahu substantially transitions towards greater penetration of renewable sources for electricity, it may be too early to tout EVs on Oahu as a GHG emissions reduction strategy. This of course depends on the type of vehicle from which drivers switch to EVs. If EV drivers largely pull from potential HEV consumers, as is suggested in prior studies, then there is no gain in GHG emissions reduction. On the other hand, if EV consumers switch from ICEVs, there are GHG emissions savings. Oahu’s electricity generation mix must become similar to that in carbon intensity of Kauai and Maui to make high performing EVs at least comparable to high performing HEVs in GHG emissions.

Read the full report at the Electric Vehicle Transportation Center.


Identifying Peer Effects Using Gold Rushers

Fishers pay attention to where other fishers are fishing, suggesting the potential for peer effects. But peer effects are difficult to identify without an exogenous shifter of peer group membership. We propose an identification strategy that exploits a shifter of peer group membership: gold rushes of new entrants. Following an exchange-rate-induced gold rush in an American fishery, we find that new entrants are strongly influenced by the location choices of their peers. Over-identification tests suggest that the assumptions underlying identification hold when new entrants are inexperienced but identification is lost as new entrants start to potentially influence their peers.

WORKING PAPER


Assessing the Costs of Priority HISC Species in Hawaii

Over the past decade, funding for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) has ranged from less than $2 million per year in the three years following the recent economic downturn, up to almost $6 million in FY2015. The HISC website provides total award amounts for past projects, but it is difficult to attribute exact dollar amounts to specific species for projects that target multiple species. As a starting point, we consider the number of times each invasive species was designated as a target over the period FY2005-2015. While this list does not necessarily represent species that generated the largest economic damages or species for which the most spending has occurred, it is a list of species getting the most attention by HISC. For the most part, the top ten have remained fairly consistent over time, although in recent years, axis deer, albizia, and ivy gourd have received noticeably more attention.

PROJECT REPORT


By the Time I Get to Arizona: Estimating the Impact of the Legal Arizona Workers Act on Migrant Outflows

In 2007, the State of Arizona passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) which required all employers to verify the legal status of all prospective employees. Replicating existing results from the literature, we show that LAWA displaced about 40,000 Mexican-born people from Arizona. About 25% of these displaced persons relocated to New Mexico indicating that LAWA had externalities on adjoining states.

WORKING PAPER


The Conversation: Carl Bonham on the UHERO County Forecast

Posted May 24, 2016 | Categories: Media, Hawaii's Economy

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about the UHERO County Forecast: Counties Share Positive Outlook, but Face Individual Challenges

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UHERO County Forecast: Counties Share Positive Outlook, But Face Individual Challenges

Hawaii’s four counties are moving steadily forward, accommodating new visitors, restoring lost jobs, and growing household incomes. Prospects remain good for the next few years, supported by health in the US economy, local labor markets, and construction. Growth rates will begin to trend lower, as each county converges toward its trend path and as construction moves to, and then beyond, the next cyclical peak.

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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How Hawaii’s State Government Shares Transient Accommodation Tax Revenues With Its Local Governments

Many states in the U.S. give unrestricted financial support to their local governments. The reasons some state governments provide aid and others do not, and why a particular mode of revenue sharing is adopted remain unclear. This paper examines Hawaii’s recent effort at developing a model to allocate the state’s transient accommodation tax revenues between the State and the county governments. The paper documents the process and explains the rationale behind the model.

WORKING PAPER


The Conversation: Michael Roberts on What a Difference a Rate Makes

UHERO Fellow Michael Roberts appears on The Conversation to talk about the role of interest rates and Hawaii's renewable energy goals. Learn more in his blog post: What a Difference a Rate Makes.

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Hawaii Executive Conference 2016 Presentation

Carl Bonham presented "Clusters of Economic Growth" on strong clusters as drivers of economic vitality during the "Measuring Sustainable Growth" panel on April 13, 2016 at HEC 2016 in Wailea, Maui.

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Filipino 2040: Environmental Resources, Shocks, and National Well-Being

The contribution of the environmental-resource sector to national well-being is the sum of natural resource depletion and environmental degradation. Inasmuch as existing resource stocks are below efficient levels, better enforcement of existing laws as well as policies that incentivize sustainable use are needed. Similarly, progressive royalty assessment of mineral resources can incentivize exploration without transferring the bulk of resource rents to private interests. In the case of pollution, the key is to face firms with the full costs of their production, e.g. through emission taxes and/or cap and trade systems. Calculating total depletion and degradation (TDD) will facilitate the calculation of green national income (GNI), a more inclusive metric of national well-being. In the same way, simultaneous optimization of disaster management policies in the face of climate change can facilitate a further improvement in national well-being, this time measured as comprehensive national income (CNI).

WORKING PAPER


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