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Indigenous labour force status re-visited: factors associated with the discouraged worker phenomenon

Listed author(s):
  • Boyd Hunter


    (The Australian National University)

  • Matthew Gray

    (Australian Institute of Family Studies)

Indigenous people are more likely to be discouraged from looking for work than other Australians. Data from the 1994 National Aboringinal and Torres Strait Islander Survey are used to analyse the factors that lead many indigenous people who want to work to not seek work, and hence remain outside the labour force. This article confirms the importance of labour supply factors (including family, cultural and social environmental factors), but also emphasises the interaction between the supply and demand side of the labour market. An important finding is that indigenous people want to work as much as other Australians. This means that policies aimed at increasing the demand for their services are crucial. Two examples of the latter are education and regional development policies. The article also argues that a broader definition of discouraged worker should be considered for all Australians.

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

Volume (Year): 4 (2000-2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 111-133

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Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:4:y:2001:i:2:p:111-133
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