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The Determinants of Labour force Status Among Indigenous Australians


  • Benjamin J. Stephens

    () (University of Western Australia)


It is well established that Indigenous Australians are heavily over-represented among Australia’s most disadvantaged citizens. An important component of this disadvantage is the limited and often unsuccessful engagement of Indigenous people with the labour market. To better understand this reality, the present paper explores the forces which influence the labour market status of Indigenous people. For this purpose, multinomial logit regression analysis is used to model labour force status as a function of factors relating to geography, demographic characteristics, education, health, culture, crime and housing issues. The analysis is conducted utilising the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS). The paper gives particular attention to geographic issues, revealing significant variations between the determinants of labour force status in non-remote and remote areas. The results demonstrate the relevance of a wide range of factors in determining the probability of employment among Indigenous people, highlighting the complex array of issues which should be considered in attempts to increase employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin J. Stephens, 2010. "The Determinants of Labour force Status Among Indigenous Australians," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 13(3), pages 287-312.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:13:y:2010:i:3:p:287-312

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    Cited by:

    1. Hunter, Boyd & Howlett, Monica & Biddle, Nicholas, 2014. "Modelling Exposure to Risk of Experiencing Discrimination in the Context of Endogenous Ethnic Identification," IZA Discussion Papers 8040, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Belayet Hossain & Laura Lamb, 2012. "The Impact of Human and Social Capital on Aboriginal Employment Income in Canada," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 31(4), pages 440-450, December.
    3. Moshe Justman & Kyle Peyton, 2014. "Enforcing Compulsory Schooling by Linking Welfare Payments to School Attendance: Lessons from Australia’s Northern Territory," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2014n19, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    4. 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.
    5. Kyle Peyton & Moshe Justman, 2015. "Credible Enforcement of Compulsory Schooling by Linking Welfare Payments to School Attendance: Lessons from Australia’s Northern Territory," Working Papers 1512, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Labor Economics: General Economics of Minorities and Races; Non-labor Discrimination Particular Labor Markets: General Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets;

    JEL classification:

    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets


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