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Transnational Entrepreneurs: An Alternative Form of Immigrant Economic Adaptation

Alejandro Portes, Luis Eduardo Guarnizo and William J. Haller
American Sociological Review
Vol. 67, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 278-298
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3088896
Page Count: 21
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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.
Transnational Entrepreneurs: An Alternative Form of Immigrant Economic Adaptation
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Abstract

The recent literature on immigrant transnationalism points to an alternative form of economic adaptation of foreign minorities in advanced societies that is based on the mobilization of their cross-country social networks. Case studies have noted the phenomenon's potential significance for immigrant integration into receiving countries and for the economic development in countries of origin. Despite their suggestive character, these studies consistently sample on the dependent variable (transnationalism), failing to establish the empirical existence of these activities beyond a few descriptive examples and their possible determinants. These issues are addressed using a survey designed explicitly for this purpose and conducted among selected Latin immigrant groups in the United States. Although immigrant transnationalism has received little attention in the mainstream sociological literature so far, it has the potential of altering the character of the new ethnic communities spawned by contemporary immigration. The empirical existence of transnationalism is examined on the basis of discriminant functions of migrant characteristics, and the relative probabilities of engaging in these kinds of activities is established based on hypotheses drawn from the literature. Implications for the sociology of immigration as well as for broader sociological theories of the economy are discussed.

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