The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants

Posted: 17 Nov 2009

See all articles by George J. Borjas

George J. Borjas

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 1986

Abstract

Determines the self-employment rates for immigrants to the United States, examines how this differs from native-born men's self-employment rates, and analyzes the impact of assimilation and changes in cohort quality on the immigrant population's self-employment experience. Prior research on the labor market participation of immigrants has often ignored self-employment. Data drawn from the 1970 and the 1980 U.S. Census were analyzed. The sample selection was limited to male persons aged 18-24 in 1970 and 28-64 in 1980, and the study was conducted separately for each of six major immigrant groups: Mexican, Cuban, other Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian, and African-American. Findings show that education has a positive, significant impact on self-employment rates in all samples. Self-employment increases with labor force experience and marital status, with the exception of African-American males. Surprisingly, poor health status of individuals was shown to have a positive impact on self-employment for most of the immigrant groups studied. Also demonstrated is the fact that self-employment probabilities are almost always larger for immigrants than for the native-born. For immigrants who have resided in the U.S. for 10 years or more, the probability of self-employment is equal to or greater than for the native-born. In the absence of quality differences among immigrant cohorts, most of the self-employment gap propensities between foreign and native-born are created within 5 to 10 years after immigration. Therefore, it can be concluded that assimilation increases self-employment probabilities. As well, geographic enclaves of immigrants increase the self-employment opportunities for immigrants sharing the same national background or language as the residents of the enclave. (SFL)

Keywords: Enclaves, U.S. Census Bureau, Immigrants, Age, Minorities, Individual traits, Educational background, Assimilation, Firm ownership, Operator ownership, Immigrant firms, Labor markets, Self-employment, Employment patterns, Minority firms, Ethnic & racial groups, Acculturation, Men

Suggested Citation

Borjas, George J., The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants (1986). Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 21, Issue 4, p. 485-506 1986. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1505902

George J. Borjas (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1393 (Phone)
617-495-9532 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
270
PlumX Metrics