Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-2017


About this Report

This report serves as the official Summary final report to participants and the public, from the Arctic Economics Workshop, sponsored by the National Science Foundation grant issued July 2017. It is a summary of participant remarks, ideas, and suggestions from the workshop. It will also be included as an addendum to our official reports to the National Science Foundation to be issued Spring, 2018. After the initial section on background and introduction, the remaining report highlights the three keynote presentations and the introductory presentation by the hosts who presented the research undertaken for the Workshop. The discussions for all of these presentations and the rest of the meeting are presented in the Summary section of this report and the section on Research Questions. The follow up recommendations appear in the final section.

Background and Introduction

On November 6-8, 2018, an Arctic Economics workshop funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation1 was held on the Monterey campus of The Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, California. The workshop was convened to better understand the state of economic research about the Arctic, search for possible reasons for the relatively few publications by economists, and, throughout this meeting to find ways to encourage more research by economists about the Arctic. The workshop was organized by Dr. Judith Kildow of the Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) at MIIS and Professor Michael Goldstein of Babson College, and attended by 16 academic and government participants.

The time was ripe for such a workshop. Over two years ago, researchers at The Center for the Blue Economy began to measure and describe the economy of the Arctic as part of its focus on “The Blue Economy”.2 Unfortunately, despite notable searching by their team, there was a dearth of reliable, consistent data that could be used for time-series analysis or for serious economic study. However, in April 2017, the ECONOR III 2015 Update, 3 produced with funds from the Norwegian government, and with the support of the Arctic Council, was released and provided a treasure trove of economic data. Perhaps due to the previous lack of data, a literature review showed academic economists were writing far fewer articles on the topic than non-economists such as anthropologists, lawyers, political scientists, and sociologists.

The workshop was thus convened to be an exploratory examination of the status of economic research about the Arctic, particularly research done by credentialed economists as either sole authors or among interdisciplinary teams. The workshop gathered a diverse team of experts, some were focused on the Arctic, some were not; some were economists, and some were in related fields; some were academics, some were practitioners, and some were government experts, to discuss why so few economists were publishing works about the Arctic and what might be done to encourage such work.