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The Persistence of Subsistence: Wild Food Harvests in Rural Alaska, 1983-2013

58 Pages Posted: 15 May 2016  

James S. Magdanz

University of Alaska Fairbanks; ADF&G Division of Subsistence

Joshua Greenberg

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Joseph M. Little

University of Alaska Fairbanks

David S. Koster

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Date Written: May 13, 2016

Abstract

Many Alaskans depend on family-centered harvests of wild fish, wildlife, and plants in what could be considered a home production model. State and federal laws provide priorities for these “subsistence uses,” a divisive political issue in Alaska. We explore Alaska’s subsistence economies using community-level demographic, economic, and subsistence harvest estimates from more than 18,000 household surveys administered during 354 projects in 179 Alaska communities. Neither mean subsistence harvests nor mean incomes are significantly associated with time alone. But harvests are associated with time in multiple regression models that explain more than 60% of the variation in mean subsistence harvests per person at the community level. Propensity score matching finds that roads have significant, strong, and negative effects on subsistence harvests, but no significant effects on incomes. Results suggest that – given sustainably managed renewable resources and appropriate levels of exclusion – subsistence economies can co-exist with market economies.

Keywords: Alaska, home production model, subsistence, hunting, fishing, development impacts, roads, Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, ANILCA, Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, ANCSA

JEL Classification: D13, D73, D78, J24, K32, Q20, Q22, Q28, Q29, R11, R12, R40, R52, R58

Suggested Citation

Magdanz, James S. and Greenberg, Joshua and Little, Joseph M. and Koster, David S., The Persistence of Subsistence: Wild Food Harvests in Rural Alaska, 1983-2013 (May 13, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2779464

James S. Magdanz (Contact Author)

University of Alaska Fairbanks ( email )

Fairbanks, AK 99775-6660
United States

ADF&G Division of Subsistence ( email )

United States

Joshua Greenberg

University of Alaska Fairbanks ( email )

Fairbanks, AK 99775-6660
United States

Joseph M. Little

University of Alaska Fairbanks ( email )

Fairbanks, AK 99775-6660
United States

David S. Koster

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium ( email )

4000 Ambassador Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
United States

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