Māori in New Zealand: Voting with Their Feet?
24 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2018
Date Written: July 6, 2018
Māori in New Zealand have the right to choose which electorate to vote in: they can choose to vote in a 'General district' (with other Maori and all non-Māori), or to vote in a 'Māori district', where only Māori are allowed to register. Every five years there is a period known as Māori Electoral Option, during which Māori are given the option to either stay in their current district or switch. This offers an ideal setting to analyze whether Māori voters strategically choose to register where they expect the race to be closer. To that avail, I use data from two Māori Electoral Options, two general elections, and two censuses. Results suggest that only a very small fraction of Māori (less than 2%) seem to respond to the strategic incentives described. Two forces seem to play a much larger role in enrollment choices: cultural allegiances and socioeconomic status. Māori with a stronger sense of Māori identity and Maori living in socially disadvantaged areas tend to overwhelmingly enroll in the Māori districts. The implications of these results are discussed.
Keywords: Strategic Behavior, Elections, Maori, Pivotal Probabilities, New Zealand
JEL Classification: D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation