Immigrant Entrepreneurship

71 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2017

See all articles by Sari Pekkala Kerr

Sari Pekkala Kerr

Charles River Associates (CRA)

William Kerr

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Date Written: December 21, 2016


We examine immigrant entrepreneurship and the survival and growth of immigrant-founded businesses over time relative to native-founded companies. Our work quantities immigrant contributions to new firm creation in a wide variety of fields and using multiple definitions. While significant research effort has gone into understanding the economic impact of immigration into the United States, comprehensive data for quantifying immigrant entrepreneurship are difficult to assemble. We combine several restricted-access U.S. Census Bureau data sets to create a unique longitudinal data platform that covers 1992-2008 and many states. We describe differences in the types of businesses initially formed by immigrants and their medium-term growth patterns. We also consider the relationship of these outcomes to the immigrants’ age at arrival to the United States.

Keywords: immigration, entrepreneurship, entry, firm survival and growth, venture capital, high-tech

JEL Classification: F22, J15, J44, J61, L26, M13, O31, O32, O33

Suggested Citation

Pekkala Kerr, Sari and Kerr, William R., Immigrant Entrepreneurship (December 21, 2016). Bank of Finland Research Discussion Paper No. 33/2016. Available at SSRN:

Sari Pekkala Kerr (Contact Author)

Charles River Associates (CRA) ( email )

1201 F. St. NW
Ste. 700
Washington, DC 20004
United States

William R. Kerr

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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