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Economic Returns of Immigrants' Self-Employment

Peter S. Li
The Canadian Journal of Sociology / Cahiers canadiens de sociologie
Vol. 25, No. 1 (Winter, 2000), pp. 1-34
DOI: 10.2307/3341909
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3341909
Page Count: 34
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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.
Economic Returns of Immigrants' Self-Employment
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Abstract

Research on ethnic business and immigrant entrepreneurship has posed two major questions. First, why are some immigrant groups more inclined toward entrepreneurship and self-employment? Second, are those immigrants who engage in business better remunerated than salaried workers? These questions produce conflicting answers. On the one hand, blocked mobility in the open market is believed to be a key factor in driving immigrants to business and self-employment; on the other hand, research on immigrant enclaves suggests that immigrants are drawn into the enclave economy because of its comparable returns. Using the Longitudinal Immigration Data Base, this paper shows that returns of self-employment were lower than employment for immigrants who entered Canada between 1980-1995, and that the income gap between these groups increased over time. Nevertheless, an increasingly larger proportion of immigrants engaged in self-employment over time. These findings support the notion that new immigrants probably choose self-employment to overcome employment obstacles. /// Des recherches sur les entreprises ethniques posent deux questions principales. Pourquoi certains groupes d'immigrants deviennent travailleurs autonomes? Les immigrants travailleurs autonomes sont-ils mieux rémunérés que les salariés? D'une part, la mobilité réduite sur le marché libre serait le facteur clé qui inciterait les immigrants à devenir travailleurs autonomes. D'autre part, des recherches sur les enclaves d'immigrants suggèrent que les immigrants sont attirés par celles-ci car leurs revenus sont aussi bons que ceux obtenus sur le marché libre. En utilisant la banque de données longitudinales sur les immigrants, les revenus des nouveaux immigrants travailleurs autonomes sont moins élevés que ceux des salariés et l'écart des revenus entre ces deux groupes a augmenté entre 1980 et 1995. Une proportion plus large de nouveaux immigrants travailleurs autonomes a grandi au cours des années. Les nouveaux immigrants au Canada deviennent travailleurs autonomes pour surmonter les obstacles de l'emploi.

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