BA, Grad Dip Eco & Public Policy , MEc, PhD (ANU)

Economic history

Professor Boyd Hunter achieved distinction in the field of economics and made an outstanding sustained contribution to our understanding of Economic Geography, Economic History, and Indigenous Economic Policy. He has been crucial in developing the engagement of the economics profession in Indigenous issues. There are a number of intersecting strands to this work: Indigenous labour market analysis, the geography of (Indigenous) diversity; pioneering new uses of data; influential analysis of Indigenous poverty and path breaking work on Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurship. He conducted the first longitudinal analysis of Indigenous labour markets in the 1990s; this focus has ongoing contributions on the dynamics of Indigenous labour force during macroeconomic shocks and identifying the unique phenomena of technological disadoption/diffusion in Indigenous households.

In terms of the advancement of the social sciences, his contribution to the 2015 Cambridge Economic History of Australia (edited by Simon Ville and Glenn Withers) was integral to this innovative contribution to Australian Economic History. Not only did he contribute the chapter on the ‘Aboriginal legacy’, but he facilitated and encouraged all chapter authors to incorporated Indigenous issues in their analysis of economic history. He remains passionate about the inclusion of Indigenous content and perspectives in the creation of a truly Australian economic history.

His research has had demonstrable impact on policy was crucial to informing the ‘Indigenous Procurement Policy' (IPP) first implemented 1 July 2015. That policy is based on the recommendations in Andrew Forrest’s Report Creating Parity, which cited four of his publications (and few other academic researchers). This procurement policy is motivated by his statistic that ‘Indigenous businesses are 100 times more likely to employ Indigenous people’. The IPP has resulted in over billion in expenditure on Indigenous business since 2015.

He has been an influential educator for both undergraduate and post-graduate level. He developed the ANU undergraduate course on the Indigenous Economy, a research-led course that builds on world best practice in Indigenous economic policy and economic history. Furthermore he has mentored a range of rising stars in social policy and facilitated the rise of several Indigenous Professors who he has mentored since their PhD studies.

Professor Hunter has published over 150 scholarly contributions with over 5,000 citations. His doctoral dissertation, and subsequent collaboration with Professor Bob Gregory on the ‘macroeconomy and the growth of ghettos and urban poverty in Australia’, has been cited over 400 times including John Howard’s 1995 Headland Speech that presaged the ongoing significance of place-based policy interventions. 

He has also had a profound impact on public policy and Australian society through the promotion of policy-relevant research as President of the Australian Society of Labour Economics and as Managing Editor of both the Australian Journal of Labour Economics and Australian Journal of Social issues.

His research has been acknowledged for setting the Indigenous economics research agenda worldwide he was the sole Australian expert invited to Stanford University and University of Victoria (Canada) to reflect on the role of the economics discipline in facilitating economic self-determination of Indigenous peoples.

  1. Hunter, B. 2014, ‘The aboriginal legacy’, in Simon Ville and Glenn Withers (eds) The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, CUP, Cambridge, pp. 73¬–96.
  2. Hunter, B. & Carmody, J. 2015, ‘Estimating the Aboriginal population in early colonial Australia: The role of chickenpox reconsidered’, Australian Economic History Review, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 112–138.
  3. Hunter, B. 2015, ‘Whose business is it to employ Indigenous workers?’, Economic and Labour Relations Review, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 631–651
  4. Borland, J. & Hunter, B. 2000, ‘Does crime affect employment status? The case of indigenous Australians’, Economica, vol. 67, no. 265, pp. 123–144.
  5. Gray, M. & Hunter, B. 2005, ‘The labour market dynamics of Indigenous Australians’, Journal of Sociology, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 386–405