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African Americans' Pursuit of Self-Employment

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Author Info

  • Lofstrom, Magnus

    ()
    (Public Policy Institute of California)

  • Bates, Timothy

    ()
    (Wayne State University, Detroit)

Abstract

This study examines causes of black/white gaps in business ownership and self-employment rates by analyzing small-business entry and exit patterns. We proceed by recognizing heterogeneity in business ownership across different industry groups: a classification of firms by human- and financial-capital “intensiveness”, or entry barriers, we find, is useful for explaining racial differences in entrepreneurship. The barriers facing aspiring entrepreneurs seeking entry into low-barrier industries differ substantially from those limiting entry into high-barrier industries. Higher entry and lower exit rates typifying whites, relative to African Americans, are traditionally interpreted as reflections of the greater financial- and human-capital resources possessed by non-minorities. This consensus view, however, is simplistic. While education background is a powerful predictor of self-employment patterns in the low-barrier industries, advanced educational credentials actually predict lower entry: college graduates are less likely to select into low-barrier small business ownership. In the high-barrier fields, in contrast, college-educated individuals are more likely than less educated persons to enter into self employment. Overall, black presence in high-barrier fields is held down by lower net asset holdings and weaker educational credentials of potential and actual entrepreneurs. In the low-barrier industries, where the majority of black-owned businesses operate, net worth levels and educational backgrounds are trumped by the racial characteristic: low black entry and high exit rates are powerfully predicted by one's race.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3156.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Small Business Economics, 2013, 40 (1), 73-86
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3156

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Keywords: African American; self-employment; entrepreneurship; entry barriers;

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References

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  1. David G. Blanchflower & Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Discrimination in the Small-Business Credit Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 930-943, November.
  2. Fairlie, Robert W. & Robb, Alicia, 2004. "Why Are Black-Owned Businesses Less Successful than White-Owned Businesses? The Role of Families, Inheritances, and Business Human Capital," IZA Discussion Papers 1292, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Bates, Timothy, 1995. "Self-employment entry across industry groups," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 143-156, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Timothy Bates & Robert McGuckin, 1990. "The Characteristics of Business Owners Data Base," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 736-751.
  6. 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.
  7. Fairlie, Robert, 2014. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt49c4n0fg, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  8. Bruce D. Meyer, 1990. "Why Are There So Few Black Entrepreneurs?," NBER Working Papers 3537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. William D. Bradford, 2003. "The Wealth Dynamics of Entrepreneurship for Black and White Families in the U.S," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(1), pages 89-116, 03.
  10. Thomas Dunn & Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1996. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment:Evidence from Intergenerational Links," NBER Working Papers 5622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Michael Hout & Harvey S. Rosen, 1999. "Self-Employment, Family Background, and Race," NBER Working Papers 7344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Dunn, Thomas & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 2000. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment: Evidence from Intergenerational Links," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 282-305, April.
  13. Philipp Köllinger & Maria Minniti, 2006. "Not for Lack of Trying: American Entrepreneurship in Black and White," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 574, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  14. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  15. Ken Cavalluzzo & John Wolken, 2005. "Small Business Loan Turndowns, Personal Wealth, and Discrimination," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(6), pages 2153-2178, November.
  16. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  17. 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.
  18. Timothy Bates & William D. Bradford, 2008. "Venture-Capital Investment in Minority Business," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(2-3), pages 489-504, 03.
  19. Paul D. Reynolds & Nancy M. Carter & William B. Gartner & Patricia G. Greene, 2004. "The Prevalence of Nascent Entrepreneurs in the United States: Evidence from the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 263-284, November.
  20. Erik Hurst & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 319-347, April.
  21. Bates, Timothy, 1990. "Entrepreneur Human Capital Inputs and Small Business Longevity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 551-59, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Aaron K. Chatterji & Kenneth Y. Chay & Robert W. Fairlie, 2013. "The Impact of City Contracting Set-Asides on Black Self-Employment and Employment," NBER Working Papers 18884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Simoes, Nadia & Moreira, Sandrina B. & Crespo, Nuno, 2013. "Individual Determinants of Self-Employment Entry – What Do We Really Know?," MPRA Paper 48403, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Fairlie, Robert W. & Krashinsky, Harry A., 2006. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 2201, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Fairlie, Robert W., 2011. "Entrepreneurship, Economic Conditions, and the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 5725, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Michaelides, Marios, 2010. "Race and self-employment: The role of training programs, self-employment background, and access to financing," MPRA Paper 20884, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. M. Thomas, 2009. "The impact of education histories on the decision to become self-employed: a study of young, aspiring, minority business owners," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 455-466, December.
  7. Joanna Georgios Alexopoulos & Anne Villamil, 2014. "The Effects Of Frictions In The Labormarket On Entrepreneurship And Economic Development," Anais do XL Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 40th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 045, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  8. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth & Belton, Willie, 2008. "The Role of Information and Institutions in Understanding the Black-White Gap in Self-Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 3761, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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