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University of Akureyri

In the Social Science Forum at the University of Akureyri, Professor Lee Huskey will discuss research being done around the circumpolar north and draws general lessons from the different experiences of northern migration in the Arctic nations. Similarities and interesting differences among patterns and determinants of migration will be discussed. The lecture is held by the University of Akureyri and the Stefanson Arctic Institute.

Migration is a major influence on the size and demographic structure of the population in Arctic regions. The patterns of migration differ significantly across countries and between indigenous and non-indigenous people. Migration patterns also differ across demographic groups in the North; rates of migration differ by gender, age, and education level. Migration involves long-term social and cultural consequences for communities in the north as well as for the migrants themselves.

Material necessity is a major determinant of population movement, so the creation or loss of income earning opportunities in the north will affect migration decisions. Migration decisions will also reflect more general estimates of the quality of life offered by different communities. The pursuit of jobs, education, family, and bright lights will each influence migration in the north.

Public policy will also affect migration. While migration in most Arctic nations is a decision made by households or individuals, in some past periods migration decisions have been a matter of public policy. Public choices about transfer payments and the provision of services and infrastructure influence migration decisions today.

Lee Huskey is a Professor of Economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Washington University in St. Louis.  At the UAA Lee has served as Chairman of the Department of Economics, Director of the Center for Economic Education, and Director of the Experimental Economics program. He was elected President of the Western Regional Science Association in 2005. He has been active in a number of northern pursuits including the Arctic Social Indicators project, the University of the Arctic, and the Northern Research Forum.

Lee’s current research examines the patterns and determinants of rural-urban migration in Alaska. He is currently the principal investigator for two projects on northern migration funded by the US National Research Foundation and the European Science Foundation which involve social scientists from a number of countries and disciplines. More generally his research has examined economic development in rural regions and particularly the influence of institutions on this development. For further information, see http://exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=