Does Immigration Hurt African-American Self-Employment?

UCSC Dept. of Economics WP 380

Posted: 23 Sep 1997

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 1997

Abstract

Previous studies tend to find that immigration has a weak negative effect on the employment and earnings of native-born workers. These studies generally overlook the effect of immigration on an important sector of the labor force, the self-employed. Anecdotal evidence suggests that immigrants, especially those from Asian countries, may displace black-owned businesses. We use Census of Population microdata to examine if black self-employment levels are lower in labor markets which have a higher share of immigrants. We define labor markets as metropolitan areas (Mas) and use the variation across 94 Mas in the U.S. to examine the relationship between black self-employment and immigration in both 1980 and 1990. To control for permanent differences across Mas in other influences, we also estimate the effect of the change in immigration from 1980 to 1990 on the change in black self-employment over this period. We generally find that immigration has no effect or only a modest negative effect on black male or female self-employment. These findings do not change if we weigh our measure of immigration by the propensity of immigrant groups to be self-employed or if we limit our sample of immigrants to those from only Asian countries. With only a few exceptions, our findings are quite robust to alternative estimation techniques and specifications.

JEL Classification: J15, J61

Suggested Citation

Fairlie, Robert W. and Meyer, Bruce D., Does Immigration Hurt African-American Self-Employment? (July 1997). UCSC Dept. of Economics WP 380. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=30691

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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