Ethnic Networks and International Trade

26 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2004

See all articles by Gil S. Epstein

Gil S. Epstein

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University College London - CReAM - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration

Ira N. Gang

Rutgers University - Economics Department; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2004

Abstract

There is a well-established high quality literature on the role of networks, particularly ethnic networks, in international trade. Ethnic networks are a way of overcoming informal barriers (information costs, risk and uncertainty) to trade by building trust and substituting for the difficulty of enforcing contracts internationally. The networks we are interested in are those that form between migrants and natives in the host country and between migrants and their home country. Ethnic networks exist when assimilation is not complete. We consider the struggle of migrants to assimilate and, at the same time, the struggle of the local population to prevent such assimilation. These activities affect trade possibilities. Moreover, we show that it may well be in the interest of migrants who specialize in trade to, at some point in time, turn from investing in assimilation activities and instead invest in anti-assimilation activities in order to preserve immigrants' preferences for home country goods.

Keywords: assimilation, discrimination, contracts, ethnicity, international trade, market structure, network, migration, transnational

JEL Classification: D74, F23, I20, J61, L14

Suggested Citation

Epstein, Gil S. and Gang, Ira N., Ethnic Networks and International Trade (August 2004). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1232. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=574064

Gil S. Epstein

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics ( email )

Ramat-Gan, 52900
Israel
+972 3 531 8937 (Phone)
+972 3 535 3180 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~epsteig/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University College London - CReAM - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration ( email )

Drayton House
30 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AX
United Kingdom

Ira N. Gang (Contact Author)

Rutgers University - Economics Department ( email )

75 Hamilton Street
ECONOMICS, New Jersey Hall, Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1248
United States
732-932-7363 (Phone)
732-932-7416 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://econweb.rutgers.edu/gang/research

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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