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The Role of Information and Institutions in Understanding the Black-White Gap in Self-Employment

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  • Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth

    ()
    (Emory University)

  • Belton, Willie

    ()
    (Georgia Institute of Technology)

Abstract

It has been well documented in the literature that ethnicity matters significantly in the determination of self-employment rates. In particular, African-American self-employment rates lag far behind rates for other racial groups. Similarly, the literature also provides evidence of the long lived nature of institutions and the link between institutions and decision making. After controlling for the appropriate factors that can lead to self-employment differentials, we provide an explanation for the self-employment gap that still exists between African-Americans and White Americans. We focus on the important role of repeated negative institutional shocks and how such shocks influence the development of an information matrix as well as the transmission of information across time and generations. We show that African-Americans who were less likely to be influenced by negative institutional shocks and the information stock created from these experiences, have similar self-employment rates to comparably situated White Americans.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3761.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3761

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Keywords: African-American; institutions; information; self-employment;

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References

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  1. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1998. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 26-60, January.
  2. Bogan, Vicki & Darity Jr., William, 2008. "Culture and entrepreneurship? African American and immigrant self-employment in the United States," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1999-2019, October.
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  4. 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).
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  6. Magnus Lofstrom & Timothy Bates, 2013. "African Americans’ pursuit of self-employment," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 73-86, January.
  7. David G. Blanchflower & Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 1998. "Discrimination in the Small Business Credit Market," NBER Working Papers 6840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Robert W. Fairlie & Bruce D. Meyer, 1996. "Ethnic and Racial Self-Employment Differences and Possible Explanations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 757-793.
  9. Belton, Willie & Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2008. "The Racial Saving Gap Enigma: Unraveling the Role of Institutions," IZA Discussion Papers 3545, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
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  14. Robert W. Fairlie & Bruce D. Meyer, 2000. "Trends in Self-Employment among White and Black Men during the Twentieth Century," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 643-669.
  15. Brimmer, Andrew F, 1988. "Income, Wealth, and Investment Behavior in the Black Community," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 151-55, May.
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  17. 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.
  18. William Darity, 2005. "Stratification economics: The role of intergroup inequality," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 144-153, June.
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  20. David S. Evans & Linda S. Leighton, 1989. "Why Do Smaller Firms Pay Less?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(2), pages 299-318.
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Cited by:
  1. Christian Busch & Andrea Lassmann, 2010. "From Rags to Riches: How Robust is the Influence of Culture on Entrepreneurial Activity?," KOF Working papers 10-267, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  2. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth & Belton, Willie, 2010. "Black-White Gap in Self-Employment in the U.S.: Do Cohort and Within Race Differences Exist?," IZA Discussion Papers 5071, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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