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Researching ethnicity in the Pacific region

Rachel F. Baskerville (School of Accounting and Commercial Law, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand)
Katharine Wynn-Williams (Department of Accountancy & Finance, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Elaine Evans (Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance, Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Shirley Gillett (College of Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)

Pacific Accounting Review

ISSN: 0114-0582

Article publication date: 10 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine how the construct of ethnicity can best be determined for empirical analysis in accounting research, particularly in the Pacific region.


This paper reviews relevant sociological and accounting literature. In addition, it presents the results of a case study where “first language” was used as a proxy for ethnicity.


The results of the literature review present six different research approaches towards determining ethnicity. Furthermore, it is found that “first language” was a justifiable determinant of ethnicity in an accounting education study.

Research limitations/implications

The determination of reliable and valid proxies for ethnicity in accounting research is important for researchers, including those whose objective is to associate ethnicity with learning and teaching outcomes, accounting and financial reporting activities or behaviours.


In the context of accounting research, the value of this study is its challenge to the notions that culture and ethnicity are not only homogenous but interchangeable and to offer a reflection on how ethnicity can be determined.



Baskerville, R.F., Wynn-Williams, K., Evans, E. and Gillett, S. (2014), "Researching ethnicity in the Pacific region", Pacific Accounting Review, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 302-323.



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