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The spirit of capitalism? Immigration, religion, and self-employment in early 20th century Canada

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  • Chris Minns,
  • Mariyan Rizov

Abstract

This paper examines self-employment in Canada at the beginning of the twentieth century. As in the late 20th century, self-employment one hundred years ago was associated with greater human capital, and negatively related to wages in the local district. We also find strong evidence of immigrant assimilation in selfemployment, and modest evidence of higher self-employment in enclaves with greater concentration of immigrants. An analysis of recent immigrants supports the hypothesis that liquidity constraints are a strong determinant of self-employment. While religion and individual human capital are highly correlated, we find that the direct effects of membership in different Christian denominations were small.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IIIS in its series The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series with number iiisdp08.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2003
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Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp08

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Keywords: self-employment; immigration; religion; Canada.;

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  1. Chiswick, Barry R., 1991. "Jewish immigrant skill and occupational attainment at the turn of the century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 64-86, January.
  2. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
  3. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 1942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Borjas, George J & Bronars, Stephen G, 1989. "Consumer Discrimination and Self-employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 581-605, June.
  5. Ulrich Blum & Leonard Dudley, 2001. "Religion and economic growth: was Weber right?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 207-230, February.
  6. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 485-506.
  7. Fairlie, Robert, 2014. "Ethnic and Racial Self-Employment Differences and Possible Explanations," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt24p7v6gc, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  8. Minns, Chris, 2000. "Income, Cohort Effects, and Occupational Mobility: A New Look at Immigration to the United States at the Turn of the 20th Century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 326-350, October.
  9. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
  10. Blau, David M., 1986. "Self-employment, earnings, and mobility in Peninsular Malaysia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 14(7), pages 839-852, July.
  11. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-89, October.
  12. Murray John E., 1995. "Human Capital in Religious Communes: Literacy and Selection of Nineteenth Century Shakers," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 217-235, April.
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