Labour Market Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations: Evidence from Australia

Project FundingUnited Nations University WIDER
Project StatusComplete (May 2015 to March 2016)

Project Summary

Indigenous Australians are among the most disadvantaged indigenous populations in developed countries in terms of standard labour market indicators. While the gaps in labour market outcomes do not necessarily imply discrimination, it is recognised that there is substantial scope for persistent discrimination against the indigenous population. This project contributes to the understanding of labour market discrimination faced by indigenous Australians by assessing the relative importance of statistical residual-based measures of discrimination in determining indigenous Australians’ perceptions of discrimination in the labour market.

We find that statistical measures are largely unrelated to discrimination reports among males and negatively related to discrimination reports among females. Our results further indicate that the discrepancy between statistical and self-reported measures of discrimination is larger among individuals with stronger indigenous cultural identity. Our findings point at the potential significance of ‘nonstatistical’ evidence of discrimination, and underscore the importance of asking indigenous people directly about their experiences when addressing the issue of indigenous labour market disadvantage.