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Maori socio-economic disparity.

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Political Science, 52(2), 101-115

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Chapple explores the socio-economic disparities between the Māori and non-Māori populations in New Zealand.

This paper emerged during a debate on ‘Closing the Gaps’ within government, based on a report of that name published in 1998. Chapple’s piece gathered significant attention when it was published. Chapple examines various socio-economic indicators, including income, employment, education, and health, to provide a comprehensive overview of the differences in living standards and opportunities between Māori and non-Māori. The paper challenges the government’s focus on ethnic population averages, arguing that such an approach overlooks significant differences within ethnic groups. It posits that Māori ethnicity is often multifaceted and dynamic, rather than singular and static. The paper reveals substantial intra-group disparities, suggesting that relying solely on averages can lead to inaccurate stereotypes and misrepresentations of ethnic groups. It questions the direct causal link between ethnicity and socio-economic outcomes, exploring various factors that might explain these disparities and potential policy responses. The paper emphasises the unique disadvantages faced by those who solely identify as Māori, lack educational qualifications, and reside outside major urban areas, highlighting the need for nuanced policy approaches in addressing these gaps. The paper has also been criticised for a number of apparent flaws in the way it used its data, specifically the use of simple as opposed to multivariate regression analysis, the misrepresentation of the nature of a statistical distribution and the exploitation of multicollinearity in the context of stepwise regressions. It stands as one of the most contested and impactful academic articles in recent history.

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