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Understanding Changes in Maori Incomes and Income Equality 1997-2003


  • Sylvia Dixon

    () (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)

  • David C. Maré

    () (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)


This paper reports findings from a study of changes in Maori income levels and income dispersion between 1997 and 2003. Data from Statistics New Zealand's Income Survey are used to describe and evaluate the main changes in the Maori income distribution in this period, which was marked by substantial increases in employment rates and improvements in the skill levels of working-aged Maori. A parallel analysis of the main changes in the European/Pakeha income distribution is provided for comparative purposes. The results show significant reductions in the proportion of Maori with no weekly income in the reference week, or incomes of $150-200 a week, and significant increases in the proportion with incomes above the peak income level of approximately $550 per week. Income inequality within the total working-aged Maori population declined, while income inequality among employed Maori was stable. An analysis of some of the key factors contributing to change in the income distribution suggests that the transition of many Maori into employment during this period was the single most important driver of change.

Suggested Citation

  • Sylvia Dixon & David C. Maré, 2004. "Understanding Changes in Maori Incomes and Income Equality 1997-2003," Working Papers 04_12, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtu:wpaper:04_12

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barsky R. & Bound J. & Charles K.K. & Lupton J.P., 2002. "Accounting for the Black-White Wealth Gap: A Nonparametric Approach," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 663-673, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sylvia Dixon & David C. Maré, 2005. "Changes in the Mâori Income Distribution: Evidence from the Population Census," Labor and Demography 0509006, EconWPA.
    2. Damien S. Eldridge & Ilke Onur & Malathi Velamuri, 2017. "The impact of private hospital insurance on the utilization of hospital care in Australia," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(1), pages 78-95, January.

    More about this item


    Individual income distribution; Inequality; Maori; Kernel density estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination


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