Migration Decisions in Arctic Alaska: Empirical Evidence of the Stepping Stones Hypothesis
This paper explores hypotheses of hierarchical migration using data from the Alaskan Arctic. We focus on migration of Iñupiat people, who are indigenous to the region, and explore the role of income, harvests of subsistence resources, and other place characteristics in migration decisions. To test related hypotheses we use confidential micro-data from the US Census Bureau’s 2000 Decennial Census of Population and Income. Using predicted earnings and subsistence along with place invariant characteristics we generate migration probabilities using a mixed multinomial and conditional logit model. Our results support stepwise migration patterns, both up and down an urban and rural hierarchy. At the same time, we also identify differences between men and women, and we find mixed effects of place amenities and predicted earnings.
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