Immigrant Self-Employment: Does Intermarriage Matter?

26 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2009

See all articles by Dimitris Georgarakos

Dimitris Georgarakos

European Central Bank (ECB) - Directorate General Research; Center for Financial Studies (CFS)

Konstantinos Tatsiramos

University of Luxembourg; Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)


This paper investigates the effect of a native spouse on the transitions into and out of entrepreneurship of male immigrants in the U.S. We find that those married to a native are less likely to start up a business compared to those married to an immigrant. This finding is robust when the endogeneity of being married to a native is taken into account. We also show that immigrants married to a native are significantly less likely to exit from entrepreneurship compared to their counterparts who are married to an immigrant. Our results point to an interesting asymmetric role of being intermarried in deciding to become an entrepreneur and for survival in entrepreneurship, which is consistent with a network effect. On the one hand, intermarriage reduces the chance of starting up a business possibly because better access to local networks can help transitions into other forms of employment (e.g. paid employment). On the other hand, superior access to local networks through marriage to a native spouse facilitates business survival.

Keywords: business ownership, migration, native spouse, social networks

JEL Classification: J12, J15, J61

Suggested Citation

Georgarakos, Dimitris and Tatsiramos, Konstantinos, Immigrant Self-Employment: Does Intermarriage Matter?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4350. Available at SSRN:

Dimitris Georgarakos

European Central Bank (ECB) - Directorate General Research ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 20
Frankfurt am Main, 60314

Center for Financial Studies (CFS) ( email )

Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323

Konstantinos Tatsiramos (Contact Author)

University of Luxembourg ( email )

L-1511 Luxembourg

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) ( email )

11, Porte des Sciences
Campus Belval – Maison des Sciences Humaines
Esch-sur-Alzette, L-4366

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