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Revisiting the Enclave Hypothesis: Miami Twenty-Five Years Later

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  • Alejandro Portes

    (Princeton University)

  • Steven Shafer

    (Princeton University)

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    Abstract

    We review the empirical literature on ethnic economic enclaves after the concept was formulated twenty-five years ago. The balance of this literature is mixed, but many studies reporting negative conclusions were marred by faulty measurement of the concept. We discuss the original theoretical definition of enclaves, the hypotheses derived from it, and the difficulties in operationalizing them. For evidence, we turn to census data on the location and the immigrant group that gave rise to the concept in the first place – Cubans in Miami. We examine the economic performance of this group, relative to others in this metropolitan area, and in the context of historical changes in its own mode of incorporation. Taking these changes into account, we find that the ethnic enclave had a significant economic payoff for its founders – the earlier waves of Cuban exiles – and for their children, but not for refugees who arrived in the 1980 Mariel exodus and after. Reasons for this disjuncture are examined. Implications of these results for enclave theory and for immigrant entrepreneurship in general are discussed.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Migration and Development. in its series Working Papers with number 333.

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    Date of creation: May 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:pri:cmgdev:wp0610

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    1. Timothy Bates, 1989. "The changing nature of minority business: A comparative analysis of asian, nonminority, and black-owned businesses," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 25-42, September.
    2. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 1942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. A. Arrighetti & D. Bolzani & A. Lasagni, 2013. "Beyond the enclave? Break-outs into mainstream markets and multicultural hybridism in ethnic firms," Economics Department Working Papers 2013-EP06, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    2. A. Arrighetti & D. Bolzani & A. Lasagni, 2013. "Motivazioni Imprenditoriali E Percorsi Evolutivi Dell’Impresa Etnica," Economics Department Working Papers 2013-EP03, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).

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