The paper is available here. It shows, using ordered logit regression, that people who self-identify as being more easily identified as Maori are less likely to own their own home, correcting for income and a few other variables. The paper's empirics say absolutely nothing about mortgages or banks. But the study nevertheless concludes:
"To sum it up in one sentence: results from a large national probability sample of Māori indicate that the more Māori you look, the less 'mortgage worthy' you are."Here are a few alternative hypotheses:
- The empirics correct for current employment and current income but not past employment and past income. If Māori employment histories are more varied than non-Māori, and if this also follows the "is identified as Māori " indicator, Māori will have less accumulated wealth at any given level of income, and this is not controlled in the study.
- If those who look more Māori are given preference in state housing, then home ownership would also be attenuated.
- If parental resources are negatively correlated with looking more Māori , then that also affects ability to put together a deposit on a house. Note too the potential influence of holding household wealth under Māori land tenure.
I also think they've an error in how they described the magnitude of the effect. Remember that this is an ordered logit regression. So you can't just take the point estimate and multiply it by the number of interval steps to get an accumulated effect; you have to ask your stats package to give you a predicted value at the different values of the category. At page 11, it really looks like they linearised from the point estimate:
Some readers may be wondering how large this effect is in practical terms. One way to think about it is like this: when statistically adjusting for numerous other demographics, such as differences in income, region of residence, and education, a Māori person with a score of 5.55 on our Perceived Appearance measure of Māori identity would be twice as likely to not own their home relative to someone with a score of 1 in Perceived Appearance. This is a statistically significant association, which in our view represents a large and extremely important difference in the rate of home ownership based solely on merely appearing more Māori.They have an odds ratio of 0.82, which ought to mean that a step change increase in perceived appearance score from the mean score reduces likelihood of owning a home by 18%. I don't think that means that if you go 5.55 steps in the other direction (1/0.18) from the mean score doubles your likelihood of home ownership, except under some pretty strong assumptions. But it's been a little while since I've played around in ordered logit.
Here's the bit where Collins quoted me - entirely fairly: