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Trends in Self-Employment Among White and Black Men: 1910-1990

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  • Fairlie, Robert

Abstract

We examine trends in entrepreneurship among white and black men from 1910 to 1990 using Census and CPS microdata. Self-employment rates fell over most of the century and then started to rise after 1970. For white men, we find that the decline was due to declining rates within industries, but was counterbalanced somewhat by a shift in employment towards high self-employment industries. Recently, the increase in business ownership was caused by an end to the within industry decline and the continuing shift in employment towards high self-employment industries. We also find that social security benefits, and immigration patterns do not explain the recent upturn in self-employment. For black men, we find that the self-employment rate remained at a level of roughly one-third the white rate from 1910 to 1990. The large and constant gap between the black and the white rates is not due to blacks being concentrated in low self-employment rate industries. We also find that absent continuing forces holding down black self-employment, a simple inter-generational model of self-employment suggests that black and white rates would converge quickly.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz in its series Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt7pf033tn.

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Date of creation: 15 May 2014
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt7pf033tn

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Keywords: Business; entrepreneurship; inequality; race; business ownership; self-employment; labor;

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Cited by:
  1. Robert W. Fairlie & Bruce D. Meyer, . "Trends in Self-Employment Among White and Black Men: 1910 - 1990," IPR working papers, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University 99-1, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  2. Heim, Bradley T. & Lurie, Ithai Z., 2010. "The effect of self-employed health insurance subsidies on self-employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 995-1007, December.

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