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Leaving home, returning home: Migration as a labor market choice for Alaska Natives


We investigate determinants of the pattern of recent migration of Alaska Natives between rural homelands and urban areas. A review of the literature on moving in the North American North suggests that economic opportunities draw migrants, although such opportunities must be viewed in the context of the mixed subsistence-cash economy prevailing in rural areas of the region. Consequently, we model Native migration as a simultaneous decision with labor market participation in a mixed economy. Estimated equations explaining individual Alaska Native migration choices using the U.S. Census Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) are consistent with the model, and also suggest that perceived opportunities differ between women and men.

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Correspondence to Lee Huskey.

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The authors acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation, grant OPP-9521459. An earlier version of this paper was presented to the 1998 annual meeting of the Western Regional Science Association

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Huskey, L., Berman, M. & Hill, A. Leaving home, returning home: Migration as a labor market choice for Alaska Natives. Ann Reg Sci 38, 75–92 (2004).

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JEL classification

  •  J22
  • J61
  • R23