Maoris, Islanders and Europeans
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This paper deals with the question of what determines worker mobility at the firm level using data from a New Zealand case study. Particular attention is paid to the significance of ‘ethnicity’, taken here to mean the co-existence of a majority (European) and two separate minority ‘racial’ groups: an indigenous Maori minority and an immigrant islander minority which is drawn from the small South Pacific islands of Western Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga etc., under New Zealand’s economic influence. Work in the United States has suggested that ‘race’ both reduces labour mobility and becomes a less important determinant of it as economic activity rises (Stoikov and Raimon, 1968). But it is not clear why the significance of ‘race’ reduces mobility, nor why it fades over the cycle. This paper takes up the first point in more detail, using data on monthly termination rates and a survey of reasons for termination drawn from a large multiple-activity New Zealand company which employs substantial numbers from each ‘racial’ group.
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