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Ethnic Networks and International Trade

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  • Epstein, Gil S
  • Gang, Ira

Abstract

There is a well-established high quality literature on the role of networks, particularly ethnic networks, in international trade. Ethnic networks are a way of overcoming informal barriers (information costs, risk and uncertainty) to trade by building trust and substituting for the difficulty of enforcing contracts internationally. The networks we are interested in are those that form between migrants and natives in the host country and between migrants and their home country. Ethnic networks exist when assimilation is not complete. We consider the struggle of migrants to assimilate and, at the same time, the struggle of the local population to prevent such assimilation. These activities affect trade possibilities. Moreover, we show that it may well be in the interest of migrants who specialize in trade to, at some point in time, turn from investing in assimilation activities and instead invest in anti-assimilation activities in order to preserve immigrants’ preferences for home country goods.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4616.

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Date of creation: Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4616

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Related research

Keywords: assimilation; contracts; discrimination; ethnicity; international trade; market structure; migration; network; transnational;

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References

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  1. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J., 1987. "Cooperation, Harassment, and Involuntary Unemployment: An Insider-Outsider Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 196, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Epstein, Gil S., 2000. "Labor Market Interactions Between Legal and Illegal Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 204, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Rapoport, Hillel & Weiss, Avi, 2001. "The Optimal Size for a Minority," IZA Discussion Papers 284, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Le, Anh T, 1999. " Empirical Studies of Self-Employment," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 381-416, September.
  5. Magnus Lofstrom, 2002. "Labor market assimilation and the self-employment decision of immigrant entrepreneurs," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 83-114.
  6. James E. Rauch, 2001. "Business and Social Networks in International Trade," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1177-1203, December.
  7. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
  8. Gang, Ira N & Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L, 1994. "Labor Market Effects of Immigration in the United States and Europe: Substitution vs. Complementarity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 157-75.
  9. Klaus Zimmermann, 2007. "The economics of migrant ethnicity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 487-494, July.
  10. Ira N. Gang & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2000. "Is Child like Parent? Educational Attainment and Ethnic Origin," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 550-569.
  11. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
  12. Gil Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2006. "Reduced prizes and increased effort in contests," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 447-453, June.
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