Church Membership, Social Capital, and Entrepreneurship in Brazilian Communities in the U.S

Ana Cristina B Martes

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Carlos L. Rodriguez

affiliation not provided to SSRN


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship

The authors investigate the degree to which Protestant and Catholic churches differ in terms of their impact on the creation and development of social capital, as well as the ways in which membership in the churches’ social networks affect ethnic entrepreneurship.First, a review of the literature on the relationship between social capital and ethnic entrepreneurship is presented, and it is suggested that the effects of church membership on ethnic entrepreneurial activity remains an under-researched topic.The data used to examine the central research questions were drawn from surveys and interviews that the authors conducted with ethnic Brazilian communities in the Greater Boston area in 2001 and 2002. Analysis of the data indicates that church membership can indeed be an important source of social capital in ethnic communities and that rates and success of entrepreneurial activities in ethnic communities varies as a function of church membership. Although both Catholic and Protestant churches in the ethnic Brazilian communities were regarded as safe places for the development of social networks, Protestant churches appeared to have created a more favorable environment for ethnic entrepreneurship.Differences in the structure and funding of the churches, in the roles of their respective clergy, and in the content of their discourses may explain why the Brazilian Protestant churches seemed more entrepreneur-friendly than the Catholic churches.(SAA)

Keywords: Religion, Brazilian Americans, Church membership, Latinos, Ethnic entrepreneurs, Social capital, Minorities, Social networks

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Date posted: November 4, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Martes, Ana Cristina B and Rodriguez, Carlos L., Church Membership, Social Capital, and Entrepreneurship in Brazilian Communities in the U.S (2004). Ethnic Entrepreneurship: Structure and Process., Vol. 4, p. 171-201 2004. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1496737

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Ana Cristina B Martes (Contact Author)
affiliation not provided to SSRN
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Carlos L. Rodriguez
affiliation not provided to SSRN
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