Report

Investigating variations in labour force participation rates of Māori and non-Māori in New Zealand

29 Aug 2014
Description

To what extent can differences in labour force participation rates (LFPR) between Maori and Non-Maori be explained by demographic characteristics, compared to other factors?

Executive summary

This study seeks to answer the following question: to what extent differences in LFPR between Maori and Non-Maori can be explained by the demographic characteristics (i.e. the supply side factors, for example) or by other factors?

This study investigated changes in labour force participation rates of Maori and Non-Maori, between 1986 and 2013. The data utilised for the purpose of this study are derived using a special data set constructed from Census and National Account data (New Zealand Statistics). The data set is a combination of time series and cross-sectional data. The unit of measure is the LFPR of individuals of working age in New Zealand, by year and urban area of residence.

Controlling for gender, age, education, state of the labour market, and economic conditions, the effects of areas of residence and year are observed, in addition to the observed demographic characteristics of individuals. Compared to previous studies, this approach is relatively new. It is proposed to extend the knowledge base of the reasons why there are variations in LFPR, and why a gap persists between Maori and non-Maori LFPR, particularly in terms of UR rates.

It is found that, compared to 1986, while the LFPR of Maori has continued to increase steadily, the LFPR of Non-Maori has decreased. Moreover, while gender, age and education are important determinants of LFPR, we also found that urban areas and year of reference are even more so, in particular for male workers. Briefly summarised, the following are the main findings:

  • It is found that compared to 1986, while the Maori LFPR has increased, this has not been so for Non-Maori.
  • It is found that with respect to people of working age living in the main residential boundaries, the impact on LFPR of changes in the proportion of individuals living in secondary and minor boundaries, rural and others areas, is lower for Non-Maori, both females and males; however this is not so for Maori, both females and males.
  • For Non-Maori LFPR, females and males, we found that with respect to people of working age with educational qualifications, the impact of changes in the proportion of individuals with higher qualifications, is higher than the impact of the one with ‘no school’ qualifications, or ‘qualifications not elsewhere included’; however, this is not so for Maori, males and females.
  • With respect to gender, the impact on LFPR of changes in the proportion of males, with respect to that of females, is higher than that of females, on average. This is true for both, Maori and Non-Maori groups.
  • With respect to the 65+ age group, the impact on LFPR of changes in the proportions of other age groups varies, but it is not higher.
Publication Details
Published year only: 
2014
36
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