Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2019-04-26

Aboriginals as Unwilling Immigrants: Contact, Assimilation and Labour Market Outcomes

Document type Article
Author Kuhn, Peter
Author Sweetman, Arthur
Journal Journal of Population Economics
Volume 15
Date 2002 May
ISSN 0933-1433
Pages 331-356


Like immigrants, aboriginal populations' economic success may be enhanced by the acquisition of skills and traits appropriate to the “majority” culture in which they reside. Using 1991 Canadian Census data, we show that Aboriginal labour market success is greater for Aboriginals whose ancestors intermarried with non-Aboriginals, for those who live off Indian reserves, and for those who live outside the Yukon and Northwest Territories. While these three “facts” could also be explained by a combination of other processes, such as discrimination, physical remoteness, and selection, only the skill/trait acquisition, or “assimilation” hypothesis is consistent with all three.