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Measuring the ‘real’ indigenous economy in remote Australia using NATSISS 2002


Author Info

  • Jon Altman

    (The Australian National University)

  • Geoff Buchanan

    (The Australian National University)

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    This article utilises a model of the economy that includes the non-market, Indigenous customary sector. It seeks to ‘Indigenise’ the economy by using available NATSISS 2002 data on fishing and hunting activities, art and craft production, and Indigenous people’s ability to meet cultural responsibilities while in employment. Other ABS statistics ignore the non-market sector and hence understate the extent of Indigenous economic participation and wellbeing. Whilst it has significant shortcomings, NATSISS 2002 provides statistics which challenge standard measures of economic activity and development and support the view that the real economy in remote Indigenous Australia is made up of three sectors rather than two. The policy ramifications of this are that the customary sector might provide economic opportunity, and that major programs like the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme, as well as land rights and native title, might be useful instruments to facilitate enhanced customary participation with positive livelihood outcomes.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School in its journal Australian Journal of Labour Economics.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 17-32

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    Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:9:y:2006:i:1:p:17-32

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    Related research

    Keywords: Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements: Legal; Social; Economic; and Political Comparative Economic Systems; General Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology: General;

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    Cited by:
    1. Guyonne Kalb & Trinh Le & Boyd Hunter & Felix Leung, 2012. "Decomposing Differences in Labour Force Status between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2012n20, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.


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