Ethnicity and Self-Employment in Trinidad and Tobago: An Empirical Assessment

Int. J. of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2013, Vol.18, No.2, pp.173 - 193

Posted: 6 Nov 2013

See all articles by Virgil Henry Storr

Virgil Henry Storr

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center; University of Arizona Center for the Philosophy of Freedom

Arielle John

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 6, 2013

Abstract

In Trinidad and Tobago, the Chinese, Syrian-Lebanese and White ethnic groups have the highest levels of self-employment, while Indians have emerged as the new business class. However, relatively few black Trinidadians are self-employed. Using survey data, this study examines whether these apparent differences in self-employment rates can be explained by differences in attributes, or must be explained by other factors like ethnic inclination/disinclination due to historical/sociological factors. We find substantial differences in the self-employment rates of the various ethnic groups, with black Trinidadians having the lowest rates, Indians and mixed Trinidadians have the second highest, and the Chinese, Syrian-Lebanese and whites having the highest probability of being self-employed of all ethnic groups. These differences in the probability that members of a given ethnic group will be self-employed persist even after controlling for individual characteristics that also affect the self-employment choice. We conclude with a discussion of the various historical/sociological factors that might explain differences in ethnic self-employment rates including the effects of colonisation, the importance that each group places on family ties, and each groups' appraisal of its status and opportunities relative to the other ethnic groups in the country.

Keywords: self-employment; entrepreneurship; ethnicity; Trinidad and Tobago; sociological factors, historical factors, colonisation, family ties, status, opportunities, ethnic groups

Suggested Citation

Storr, Virgil Henry and John, Arielle, Ethnicity and Self-Employment in Trinidad and Tobago: An Empirical Assessment (November 6, 2013). Int. J. of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2013, Vol.18, No.2, pp.173 - 193. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2350897

Virgil Henry Storr (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://virgilstorr.org/

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://virgilstorr.org/

University of Arizona Center for the Philosophy of Freedom ( email )

Department of History
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

HOME PAGE: http://virgilstorr.org/

Arielle John

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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