Ethnicity and Entrepreneurship in America: Toward an Explanation of Racial and Ethnic Group Variations in Self-Employment

Posted: 17 Nov 2009

See all articles by Cedric Herring

Cedric Herring

affiliation not provided to SSRN

John Sibley Butler

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business

Date Written: 1991

Abstract

Examines the relationship between ethnicity and the prevalence of self-employment, using data from the 1983-1987 General Social Surveys. Results show that those of Jewish heritage are significantly more likely to be self-employed than those in other ethnic groups. Specifically, those of African, Irish, Hispanic, and Polish descent are the least likely to be self-employed. Even when control variables such as age, education, family of origin's income, and marital status are considered, the same basic patterns emerge. In particular, those of African, Hispanic, and Polish descent continue to be less likely to work for themselves and those of Jewish descent continue to be more likely to work for themselves. Several control variables are found to have a significant impact on entrepreneurship. Some examples include: age - the likelihood of self-employment increases with the age of the individual; gender - males are more likely to own their own firms than females; marital status - married people are more likely to be self-employed than single people; region of current residence - Southerners are more likely than those living in other regions to be self-employed; and religion - Catholics are significantly less likely to be self-employed than are those of other religious denominations. In addition, while the likelihood of self-employment increases marginally with higher income, higher education does not appear to increase self-employment prospects. Implications for future research are discussed. (SFL)

Keywords: Ethnicity, Religion, MInorities, Educational background, Gender, Individual traits, Age, Ethnic entrepreneurs, Cultural differences, Experience, Self-employment, Marital status, Ethnic & racial groups

Suggested Citation

Herring, Cedric and Butler, John Sibley, Ethnicity and Entrepreneurship in America: Toward an Explanation of Racial and Ethnic Group Variations in Self-Employment (1991). Sociological Perspectives, Vol. 34, Issue 1, p. 79-94 1991. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1505869

Cedric Herring (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

John Sibley Butler

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

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