Estimating Indigenous Australian employment in the private sector

Author/editor: Altman, JC, Taylor, J
Year published: 1994
Issue no.: 70


Impetus for attempting to delineate 'real' private sector employment derived from concerns regarding the shortcomings of data on this issue identified by the review of the Aboriginal Employment Development Policy (AEDP). In seeking to address these concerns, private sector employment is defined here as consisting of activities that do not depend primarily on government funding for their existence. Using census data, two methods are employed to estimate change in the number of Indigenous people employed in this redefined private sector in 1986 and 1991. The first, a residual approach, uses a mix of census statistics and administrative data sets. The second is based on judicious scrutiny of detailed industry tables from the census cross-classified by private sector employment. Revised statistical limits of Indigenous employment in the private sector are produced with intercensal growth substantially deflated.

This paper considers the determinants of employment income for Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians. Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression techniques are applied to 1991 Census data to consider the question: does the lower income of these Indigenous people reflect differences in their factor endowments (like education) rewarded in the labour market, or are they rewarded differently for the same set of endowments than are non-Indigenous Australians. The results show that the main source of lower incomes for Indigenous Australians was their smaller endowment of human capital characteristics. The paper concludes with a discussion of the policy implications of these results.

ISBN: 0 7315 1744 X

ISSN:1036 1774

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