The Ethnic and Racial Character of Self-Employment

77 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2000 Last revised: 17 Aug 2010

See all articles by Robert W. Fairlie

Robert W. Fairlie

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics

Bruce D. Meyer

University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 1994

Abstract

Using the 1980 and 1990 Censuses, we show that self-employment rates differ substantially across ethnic and racial groups in the U.S. These differences exist for both men and women, within broad combinations of ethnic/racial groups such as Europeans, Asians, Hispanics and blacks, and after controlling for variables such as age, education, immigrant status and time in the country. Although there are large differences in self-employment rates across ethnic/racial groups, the processes determining self-employment within each ethnic/racial group are not substantially different. We find fairly similar effects of age, education, year of immigration, and other factors in determining who is self-employed for most groups. We examine whether ethnic/racial self-employment rates are associated with group returns to self-employment. We find evidence of a positive association between an ethnic/racial group's self- employment rate and the difference between average self-employment and wage/salary earnings for that group. This result suggests that our economic model of the self-employment decision may be useful in explaining differences in self-employment rates across ethnic/racial groups. We also find that different ethnic/racial groups locate their businesses in different types of industries. In addition, we do not find evidence that ethnic/racial groups who immigrate from countries with high self-employment rates have high self-employment rates in the U.S.

Suggested Citation

Fairlie, Robert W. and Meyer, Bruce D., The Ethnic and Racial Character of Self-Employment (July 1994). NBER Working Paper No. w4791. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=226990

Robert W. Fairlie (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Engineering 2 Bldg.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States
831-459-3332 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.ucsc.edu/~fairlie/

Bruce D. Meyer

University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
(773) 702-2712 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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