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Ravi Pendakur on the impact of federal modern agreements on income inequality in Indigenous communities

WIDER Seminar Series

Ravi Pendakur will present at the WIDER Seminar Series on 8 November 2019. 

Abstract - The impact of federal modern agreements on income inequality in Indigenous communities

In Canada, modern agreements allow Indigenous groups to govern their internal affairs and assume greater responsibility and control over the decision-making that affects their communities. While there has been a great deal of energy expended on negotiating such agreements, there has been less work that assesses the impact of such agreements on economic outcomes (see Aragón 2015, Pendakur and Pendakur 2018).   We use difference in difference models, controlling for census year (1991 – 2016) and Census subdivision (city) effects to measure the impact of 7 types of modern agreements on household and community level incomes and inequality.

We find that Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements (CLCAs) raise average incomes a lot for Indigenous households.   In contrast, opt-in agreements, which allow Indigenous communities to take control of land or fiscal issues are associated with small losses in average income and no change in average log-incomes for Indigenous households.  This pattern suggests that these opt-in agreements reduce income inequality, by narrowing the distribution of income.

The second part of this work investigates how income inequality at the community-level responds to the attainment of a modern agreement.  Communities that attain a Self-Government Agreement, a CLCA or an opt-in arrangement related to land management see a decrease in the Gini coefficient for income inequality of roughly 1 to 3 percentage points. Attainment of modern agreements may also affect inter-group inequality. In particular, Opt-in arrangements are correlated with larger income gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous households, even as they reduce overall income inequality in a community.

About the speaker

Prior to joining the University of Ottawa, Ravi Pendakur spent 18 years as a researcher in a number of federal government departments including, The Secretary of State, Multiculturalism and Citizenship, Canadian Heritage, and, Human Resources and Social Development. His primary research focus is on diversity, with a goal toward assessing the socioeconomic characteristics of language, immigrant and ethnic groups in Canada and other settler societies.

Professor Pendakur's research interests lie in linking social capital attributes to outcomes for minorities in Canada, the United Statesand Europe. His goal is to explore the interrelationships key to social inclusion – those of social separation, social interaction and social and economic outcomes. He is interested in the consequences of a series of key social choices: living and interacting within or outside an ethnic group (social capital), living within or outside a residential ethnic enclave and the impact these interactions have on social outcomes such as wellbeing and occupational success.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.

Seminars will be live streamed on Facebook and recordings and presentations will be available after the event here.

For more information email richardson@wider.unu.edu

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