Randall Akee

Randall Akee is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles in the Department of Public Policy and American Indian Studies. He is currently on leave as a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in June 2006. Prior to his doctoral studies, Dr. Akee earned a Master’s degree in International and Development Economics at Yale University. He also spent several years working for the State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs Economic Development Division.

Dr. Akee is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in Labor Studies and the Children’s Groups. He is also a research fellow at the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), a faculty affiliate at the UCLA California Center for Population Research (CCPR) at UCLA and a faculty affiliate at UC Berkelely Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA). His main research interests are Labor Economics, Economic Development and Migration.

Previous research has focused on the determinants of migration and human trafficking, the effect of changes in household income on educational attainment, the effect of political institutions on economic development and the role of property institutions on investment decisions. Current research focuses on income inequality and immobility by race and ethnicity in the US. Dr. Akee has worked on several American Indian reservations, Canadian First Nations, and Pacific Island nations in addition to working in various Native Hawaiian communities.

From August 2006 until August 2009 he was a Research Associate at IZA, where he also served as Deputy Program Director for Employment and Development. Prior to UCLA (2009-2012), he was an Assistant Professor at Tufts University and spent AY 2011-2012 at the Center for Labor Economics at University of California, Berkeley.

In June 2013 he was named to the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations.

Google Scholar Citations

 

Published and Forthcoming Papers:

Estimating Institutionalization and Homelessness for Status First Nations in Canada: A Method and Implications,” forthcoming in International Indigenous Policy Journal. (with Donna Feir)

“Socioeconomic Outcomes for Indigenous Students attending a High Performing School” forthcoming at Journal of American Indian Education.

How Does Household Income Affect Child Personality Traits and Behaviors?” (with E. Simeonova, J. Costello, and B. Copeland) American Economic Review, 108(3), 775-827.

“The Role of Race, Ethnicity and Tribal Enrollment on Asset Accumulation: An Examination of American Indian Tribal Nations”. (with Sue K. Stockly, William Darity Jr, Darrick Hamilton, and Paul Ong), forthcoming in Ethnic and Racial Studies.

“Critical Junctures and Economic Development —  Evidence from the Adoption of Constitutions Among American Indian Nations.” (with Miriam Jorgensen and Uwe Sunde), Journal of Comparative Economics, 2015, Volume 43, pp. 844-861.

“The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and Its Effects on American Indian Economic Development” (with Katherine Spilde and Jonathan Taylor) Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer 2015, Volume 29, No. 3, pp. 185-208.
Press: American Economics Association

“Social and Economic Changes on American Indian Reservations in California: an Examination of Twenty Years of Tribal Government Gaming” (with Katherine Spilde and Jonathan Taylor) UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal, 2014, Volume 18, No. 2.

Investigating the Effects of Furloughing Public School Teachers on Juvenile Crime in Hawaii” (with T. Halliday and S. Kwak), Economics of Education Review, Volume 42, 2014, pp. 1-11.
Press: KITV NewsHawaii News NowHonolulu Star AdvertiserWest Hawaii Today

“Property Institutions and Business Investment on American Indian Reservations” (with M. Jorgensen), Regional Science and Urban Economics, Volume 46, 2014, pp. 116-125.

“Transnational Tracking, Law Enforcement and Victim Protection: A Middleman Tracker’s Perspective” (with A. Basu, A. Bedi and N. Chau), Journal of Law and Economics, May 2014, v. 57, pp. 349-386.

“Young Adult Obesity and Household Income: Effects of Unconditional Cash Transfers.” (with Emilia Simeonova, J. Costello, W. Copeland, and A. Angold), American Economics Journal: Applied Economics, 2013, 5(2):1-28.
Press: New York Times
Blog Posts: Daily KosThe EconomistThe Washington Post

“The Persistence of Self-Employment Across Borders: New Evidence on Legal Immigrants to the United States”,  (with David A Jaeger and Konstantinos Tatsiramos) Economics Bulletin, Vol. 33 No. 1 pp. 126-137, 2013.

“Skin Tone’s Decreasing Importance on Employment: Evidence from a Longitudinal Dataset, 1985-2000.” (with Mutlu Yuksel) Industrial and Labor Relations Review, V. 62, No. 2, 2012.

“Errors in Self-Reported Wages: The Role of Previous Earnings Volatility and Individual Characteristics.” Journal of Development Economics, V. 96, No. 2, Nov. 2011, pp. 409-421.

“‘Counting Experience’ Among the Least Counted: The Role of Cultural and Community Engagement on Educational Outcomes for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Students.” (with Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz), American Indian Culture and Research Journal, V. 35 Num. 3,  pp. 119-150, 2011.

“Parents’ Incomes and Children’s Outcomes: A Quasi-Experiment with Casinos on American Indian Reservations,” (with J. Costello, W. Copeland, G. Keeler and A. Angold), American Economics Journal: Applied Economics, Volume 2, No. 1, January 2010, pp. 86-115.

 

Working Papers:

“Land Titles and Dispossession: Allotment on American Indian Reservations,”

“First People Lost: Determining the State of Status First Nations Mortality in Canada using Administrative Data,” (with D. Feir) revise and resubmit at Canadian Journal of Economics.

“Racial and Ethnic Income Inequality and Mobility from 2000 to 2014: Evidence from Matched IRS-Census Bureau Data.” (with M. Jones and S. Porter), revise and resubmit at Demography.

“Family Income and the Intergenerational Transmission of Voting Behavior: Evidence from an Income Intervention,” (with E. Simeonova, J. Holbein, E. Costello and W. Copeland)

Reservation Nonemployer and Employer Establishments: Data from U.S. Census Longitudinal Business Databases,” (with Elton Mykerezi and Richard Todd)

 

Research Reports and Books:

“Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities: A Data Review,” Native Nations Institute Report, with Miriam Jorgensen.

“American Indians on Reservations: A Databook of Socioeconomic Change from 1990 to 2010,” 2014, with Jonathan Taylor.

Research Report for the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. “Migrant Households In India: A Comparison Of The Average Migrant Household And Migrant Households With Non-Resident Accounts In Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra And Punjab.” A Joint Report of Center for Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania, 2012, with Devesh Kapur.

Research in Labor Economics.  “Child Labor and the Transition between School and Work”  2010. Vol. 31, edited with Eric Edmonds and Konstantinos Tatsiramos, Emerald Publishing.

Institute for the Study of Labor Prize Book.  “Wages, School Quality and Employment Demand David Card and Alan Krueger” 2011. edited with Klaus Zimmermann, Oxford University Press.

Popular Press:

“Credit Scores & Indians: Recent Evidence on the Prevalence of Low Scores & Borrowing”

Indian Country Today Media Network, April 10, 2016

“The Good(?) and Bad of Boarding Schools”

Indian Country Today Media Network, March 3, 2016.

“Manufacturing Consent for the Living AND the Dead in Hawai’i” with

Noelani Arista. Indian Country Today Media Network, November 20, 2015.

 

Susanna Hecht

Dr Hecht’s research focuses on the intersections of economies, cultures and land use, and  the socio-environmental effects of these processes, an approach now widely known as political ecology.

Her focus area is the Latin American tropics, and more specifically Amazonia. Her research has  major implications for understanding the dynamics of land use change and what they imply about human relations with nature, economies and tropical development. Her work includes analytics on  climate change, mitigation and longer term rethinking of longer term strategies under globalization, intense migration and novel climate dynamics.

Her work has forged new understandings in the development of political ecology including that  of deforestation and forest recovery, the “social lives of forests” as part of environmental history as well as current practices. These include, the analysis and viability of traditional tropical land use practices  such as agroforestry and the creation of Amazonian black earths (a legacy of and continuing practice by many indigenous populations as well as Amazon peasants). Her early work on indigenous anthropogenic soils was groundbreaking, as it documented how in fact these soils, the product of biochar–and low temperature fires— were produced. She also studies the impacts of migration on forest and land use. In addition to these more arcane systems she has carried out extensive research on the livestock sector, analyzed in her book Fate of the Forest,  and soy economies in Latin America (the main deforestation drivers) and has just edited a major themed issue on this topic for the Journal of Peasant Studies, the top ranked rural development journal.

Dr. Hecht’s interest in alternatives to deforestation involved engagement in the analytics of non timber forest products and their development, including extractive reserves, which now cover more than 10 million Ha in the Amazon Basin and reflect the outcome of new institutions under the pressure of social movements of traditional peoples of various kinds. She has also paid attention to the gender implications that inhere in land use change from the most remote peasantries in the upper Amazon, to highly linked in central American women farmers whose family members reside in the US.

Forest resurgence in the tropics is now a widely documented phenomena but her work in this area more than a decade ago was landmark.

Through complex analyses that range from Forest transition theory, global markets, agrocecology and the foucauldian politics of governmentality, the widespread occurrence of forest recovery suggests a huge realm of new policy interventions and practices for this largely orphaned segment of forest dynamics. These questions are exploreed in two of her edited books. The Social Lives of forests, edited with ethnobotanist Christine Padoch and ethnoarcheologist Kathleen Morrison explored the ideologies, environmental histories, and current practices and processes that produced forests in the present day and in the past. Under current conditions forest recovery and control of clearing will be essential to any climate policy. This book thus  shows how a complex range of activities—using global examples from the top scholars in a range of disciplines — have produced both livelihoods and forested landscapes. Another edited volume explored the questions of migration, resources and rural livelihoods with colleagues from the Central American policy and research NGO, PRISMA  setting the stage for continuing research on the dynamics of migration. urbanization and land use, and thier implications for forests and forest dependent populations.

Finally her research focuses on historical ecology and environmental economics. Her book The Scramble for the Amazon won the American Historical associations Best Book in Environmental history Award in 2015, and her earlier volume, Fate of the Forest also won multiple awards. The key to these books is their use of the “natural archive” as well as the human one. Dr’ hecht rigorous historiography and scientific training coupled to  rich and fluid prose have made her books academic best sellers.She is at work on the third volume for this trilogy on contemporary Amazonia

Using archival research, remote sensing, palynological data and forest census materials Dr Hecht has been engaged in the analysis of “Deforestation” before modern Deforestation: that is understanding the nature and social dynamics of forest change over time including carbon loss and uptake in Amazonian ecosystems 100 years ago.   These researches feed into an understanding of landuse change under current regional development scenarios and most especially the questions of the global carbon economy.

Dr. Hecht’s work has been funded by NSF, NASA, MacArthur Foundation, ACLS, Guggenheim, Ford Foundation, Wenner Gren Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, National Geographic Society, Shelby Cullom David fellowships and the Institute for Advanced studies and  CASBS among many other sources. Her work has also recieved generous funding from UCLA’s Latin American Institute, The Global Public Affairs Program, the UCLA Academic Senate and the University of California Office of the President..

Dr. Hecht is a member of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, and holds a Professorial appointment at the Graduate Institute for Development Studies in Geneva.

SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS

The Social Lives of Forests
Subtitle: Past, Present, and Future of Woodland Resurgence
Publisher’s webpage
Review in Science

The Scramble for the Amazon and the Lost Paradise of Euclides da Cunha
University of Chicago Press.
Purchase on Amazon.com
Reviewed in The Nation

The Fate of the Forest: Developers, Destroyers, and Defenders of the Amazon
Purchase on Amazon.com