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Limits of Ethnic Solidarity in the Enclave Economy

Jimy M. Sanders and Victor Nee
American Sociological Review
Vol. 52, No. 6 (Dec., 1987), pp. 745-773
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095833
Page Count: 29
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Limits of Ethnic Solidarity in the Enclave Economy
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Abstract

Contemporary research on the social and economic adaptation of immigrants to life in the United States emphasizes the salience of ethnic solidarity. Portes and others advance the "enclave-economy hypothesis" that immigrants in an enclave-labor market receive earning-returns to human capital commensurate with the earning-returns of immigrants in the primary labor market. This position contradicts the classical assimilation view that segregation retards the economic achievement of minorities. However, our analysis of earnings among Cuban and Chinese immigrants suggests that the enclave-economy hypothesis is only partially correct. The hypothesis is supported in the case of entrepreneurs, but the assimilation perspective better explains the earnings of employees. We suggest a reformulation of the enclave-economy hypothesis that is sensitive to important differences between immigrant-workers and immigrant-bosses.

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