Skilled and Unskilled Immigrants and Entrepreneurship in a Developed Country
17 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2015
Date Written: August 2015
Evidence from some OECD countries suggests that skilled immigrants are over‐represented in entrepreneurship. We offer an analytical explanation to show that it may be a direct outcome of asymmetric information between immigrants and potential employers in the rich countries. Limiting occupational choices to self‐employment and employment, we show that skilled immigrants vis‐à‐vis natives may be proportionally over‐represented in small businesses. This compensates for the income loss in the labor market. It results from higher critical risk aversion among skilled immigrants compared with natives and subsequently leads to higher average income for all immigrants in the cross‐section. Finally, we show why a lesser number of unskilled immigrants enter self‐employment and discuss the speed of income convergence between all immigrants and natives.
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