Culture and Wellbeing: The Case of Indigenous Australians

29 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2009 Last revised: 17 Sep 2010

See all articles by Alfred Michael Dockery

Alfred Michael Dockery

Curtin University - School of Economics and Finance; Curtin University - Centre for Research in Applied Economics; Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre

Date Written: March 1, 2009

Abstract

A recurring theme in the debate surrounding Indigenous affairs in Australia is a tension between maintenance of Indigenous culture and the achievement of 'equity' in socio-economic outcomes: essentially 'self-determination' versus 'assimilation'. Implicit in this tension is the view that attachment to traditional culture and lifestyles is a hindrance to the achievement of 'mainstream' economic goals. This paper argues the need for a renewed focus on the wellbeing of Indigenous Australians, and for empirical evidence on the link between culture and socio-economic wellbeing instead of ideological debate. Using data from National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, a strong attachment to traditional culture is found to enhance outcomes across a range of socio-economic indicators. This suggests Indigenous culture should be viewed a potential part of the solution to Indigenous disadvantage in Australia, and not as part of the problem.

Keywords: Culture Wellbeing Indigenous Australia

JEL Classification: D63, I10, I31, Z10

Suggested Citation

Dockery, Alfred Michael, Culture and Wellbeing: The Case of Indigenous Australians (March 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1351633 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1351633

Alfred Michael Dockery (Contact Author)

Curtin University - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

GPO Box U 1987
Perth, Western Australia 6845
Australia

Curtin University - Centre for Research in Applied Economics ( email )

GPO Box U1987
Perth, Western Australia 6845
Australia

Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre ( email )

GPO Box U1987
Perth, WA 6845
Australia
61 8 9266 1744 (Phone)
61 8 9266 2373 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://bcec.edu.au/

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