Economic transition in the Canadian north: Is migrant-induced, neo-endogenous development playing a role?

Caili Steel, Clare Mitchell


Economic transition is necessary to prolong the lifespan of formerly resource-dependent places. This article seeks to discover if migrant-induced, neo-endogenous development is contributing to this process in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada. This once mine-dependent municipality emerged during the Klondike Gold Rush, but has since transitioned into a multi-functional space that capitalizes on its cultural assets. Using survey and interview data, we discover that migrants, particularly southern counterurbanites, have contributed to Dawson’s evolution. Their injection of externally accumulated capital has enhanced the community’s identity, mobilized local labour, and built local factor capacities. Our findings confirm that migrant-induced, neo-endogenous development is contributing to economic transition in this formerly resource-dependent region. Our results have implications for other isolated spaces, hoping to establish new economic identities.

Keywords: in-migrants; neo-endogenous development; counterurbanites; Dawson City

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.