This thesis demonstrates how choice modelling can elucidate and measure how Indigenous people value aspects of their culture by privileging their viewpoints. Measuring and incorporating these intangible values in policy and legal frameworks is essential to give voice to First Nations peoples.
The idea behind this research developed while travelling with a Nyikina elder who spoke of the tension between income from employment establishing a livelihood in the western way and the cultural activity essential for maintaining cultural connection, identity and wellbeing. Using those tensions and trade-offs in choice modelling enables measurement of intangible values of culture.
Choice modelling, which includes discrete choice experiments and best worst scaling, has a strong theoretical bases in economics and psychology supported with rigorous mathematical architecture. It has been shown to accurately predict actual behaviour with fewer behavioural biases than contingent valuation. Limited application of choice modelling with First Nations people has occurred in cultural heritage, environmental and resource management contexts.
Multiphase fieldwork in several west Kimberley locations with Nyikina and Mangala people started with qualitative research to build trust and inform the selection of attributes and levels for the choice model. In order to yield maximum information about preferences with minimum cognitive load a Best Worst Scaling Profile Case model with a supplementary question about profile acceptability was developed and incorporated into a survey.
The relative preferences identified in responses yield dollar valuations for the cultural attributes. Overall, access to traditional country had the strongest responses to lowest and highest levels yielding marginal values of up to $0.44 million per person per annum.
As well as informing methodological development, this research has significant implications. The need for Indigenous viewpoints to be central in policy development is generally accepted, and choice modelling could support valuation in this context. Application of choice modelling in native title compensation cases could overcome the current limitation of determinations being reliant on judicial intuition and market proxies.
NOTE limited number of places for people who want to attend in person at the RSSS, Room 3.70, Seminar Room (New RSSS Building number 146). Allocation on first in basis, Email Boyd Hunter (Boyd.Hunter@anu.edu.au). People are welcome to join via Zoom.