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The Political Economy of Oil in Alaska: Multinationals vs. the State

Jerry McBeath, Matthew Berman, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Mary F. Ehrlander
The Political Economy of Oil in Alaska: Multinationals vs. the State
ISBN: 978-1-58826-557-9
2008/277 pages/LC: 2007036119
"A thoroughly researched yet highly accessible treatise, offering a balanced, nonpartisan survey of the modern economic and political realities surrounding Alaska’s natural resources, particularly oil.... Highly recommended."
Midwest Book Review

"This well-documented volume is necessary reading for anyone interested in the politics of oil, regardless of geographical region." —Carl Shepro, University of Alaska, Anchorage


Does Alaska's reliance on oil and gas mean that it inevitably will be controlled by corporate energy interests? Or can the state use its vast resource holdings to manage a more symmetrical partnership? The Political Economy of Oil in Alaska investigates the complex relationship Alaska has with its most precious commodity.

Offering a new perspective on the challenges of oil-dependent development, the authors explore the dynamic balance between the power of a subnational government—as the owner of resources, possessor of fiscal authority, and regulator of safety and environmental conditions—and the ability of Big Oil to develop energy resources, affect the state economy, and influence state policies. The result is a comprehensive study of an often contentious alliance.


Jerry McBeath is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Matthew Berman is professor of economics at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Jonathan Rosenberg is professor of political science at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF). Mary F. Ehrlander is co-director of the Northern Studies program and assistant professor of history at UAF.


  • Introduction: Oil, Political Economy, and Alaska.
  • A Brief History of Oil in Alaska.
  • Campaigns, Elections, and the Influence of Oil.
  • Petroleum Revenues and Tax Policy.
  • Oil Supply, Budgets, and Expenditures.
  • Economic Development and State Ownership of Oil and Gas.
  • Managing the Wealth.
  • Protecting the Environment.
  • Conclusions.