E. Lance Howe

Associate Professor of Economics

Department of Economics

College of Business and Public Policy

University of Alaska Anchorage

3211 Providence Dr.

Anchorage, AK 99508


email: elhowe "at"



 I teach courses in Principles of Microeconomics, Economic Development, Econometrics, Intermediate Microeconomics, and Business Forecasting. Related course material can be found on UAA Blackboard.


 I serve as the director of the UAA Experimental Economics Lab. I also serve on the following committees: UAA Institutional Review Board, CBPP Seminar Series, and the UAA CBPP scholarship committee.


My research interests are in economic development and I am especially interested in using experimental methods to address related research questions. My areas of interest include:

Resilience, risk management and risk coping:

How individuals, households, and communities prepare for and cope with risk and uncertainty is a primary research interest. In rural contexts where formal markets are not fully developed, poor households are particularly vulnerable to negative shocks. Shocks can be idiosyncratic (e.g. health or income) or aggregate (e.g. region-wide drought). My research builds on the consumption smoothing literature and has explored the formal and informal mechanisms used to smooth consumption.

Currently, I am exploring how local institutions may develop and/or adapt to risk and uncertainty. Households in many remote locations are highly dependent on the natural environment. In many Alaska places, for instance, consumption of "subsistence" harvests account for more than 50% of total consumption. I am interested understanding how harvest institutions develop endogenously for stochastic resources. Similarly, I am interested in understanding how institutions perform when a resource becomes less predictable. Related work includes a funded interdisciplinary project (experimental economics and anthropology) to explore the local institutions for subsistence harvests in Arctic communities (Western Alaska and Chukotka Russia). Click here to go to the project webpage.

Arctic Migration:

While traditional economic theory predicts migration is driven primarily by expected wages there are a number of other important factors that influence the migration decision. My work on migration has centered understanding Alaska rural to urban migration patterns and will eventually be extended to similar contexts. Related work includes the project exploring "Migration in the Arctic: Subsistence, Jobs, and Well-Being in Urban and Rural Communities" (click for proposal abstract). Much of the related research I have done has been done at the UCLA Census data center. Click here to go to the Arctic migration project website.

Common-pool resources:

I am interested in understanding how common pool resources (CPRs) can be effectively managed, under a variety of property right regimes. In many low income countries, and in rural Alaska, remote rural households are highly dependent on local commons to satisfy basic consumption needs. In many cases, these common pool resources are commonly owned "as a matter of practice" (e.g. state ownership but defacto local ownership) or "as a matter of law" (e.g. tribal reservation lands or Alaska Native Corporation lands). I am also interested in understanding how different institutions promote efficient use of CPRs in risky environments and with heterogeneous users.

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