Title: The self-employment experience of immigrants: evidence from the US General Social Survey, 1977-2004
Authors: Erwin R. Tiongson
Addresses: Europe and Central Asia Regional Unit, The World Bank, 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20433, USA
Abstract: This paper uses biennial data from the General Social Survey (GSS) to reexamine the self-employment experience of immigrants over the 1977-2004, yielding a database of 25 individual years with over 36,000 observations. The regression results suggest that the conditional probability of self-employment is higher among immigrants, though there is evidence that it has fallen, and then rebounded, over time. Self-employment is also significantly related to age, educational attainment, race, marital status, occupation, industry of employment and family background. However, these are generally less important in explaining self-employment among immigrants. Some variables such as marital status or homeownership (a proxy for access to capital) are associated with native self-employment, but not migrant self-employment. We look at 'latent entrepreneurship' and find no evidence that preferences for self-employment vary by immigrant status. Taking everything together, we speculate that immigrants may be self-selected into self-employment, independent of their individual characteristics and stated preferences.
Keywords: migrant self-employment; immigrants; preferences; entrepreneurship; small business.
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2012 Vol.16 No.3, pp.336 - 365
Available online: 19 Jun 2012 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article