Labour Market and Other Discrimination Facing Indigenous Australians

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Nicholas Biddle
Monica Howlett
Boyd Hunter
Yin Paradies



This paper uses self-reported data to illustrate how Indigenous Australians experience discrimination and how it is potentially associated with poor labour market outcomes. After giving consideration to what factors may lead people to report being discriminated against, an empirical analysis of self-reported discrimination is presented, utilising data from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS). Correlations between discrimination experienced in different settings are identified, and the association of discrimination with human capital and other characteristics is presented. The results suggest that the main process driving the reporting of discrimination is the extent to which an individual is exposed to situations in which they interact with potential discriminators. This could mean that some Indigenous Australians decrease their labour supply in order to avoid potentially adverse (discriminatory) situations. Implications for understanding Indigenous disadvantage are discussed along with recommendations for both addressing discrimination and enhancing the resilience of individuals facing discrimination.

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