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African Americans’ pursuit of self-employment

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  • Magnus Lofstrom

    ()

  • Timothy Bates

    ()

Abstract

We examine causes of black/white gaps in self-employment entry rates in the United States by recognizing that industry context heavily shapes impacts of owner resource endowments on the likelihood of successful entry. Barriers to entry, briefly stated, are high in some lines of business and low in others. We therefore proceed by explaining self-employment entry into separate subgroups of high- and low-barrier industries. Higher entry rates typifying whites, relative to African Americans, are traditionally interpreted as reflections of the former group’s greater personal wealth and human-capital resources. This consensus view, however, is simplistic: personal wealth holdings have no positive explanatory power for predicting entry into low-barrier lines of business. Our findings demonstrate, furthermore, that high educational attainment is a strong, positive predictor of entry into high-barrier fields, but not into low-barrier industries. Because industry context indeed shapes entry patterns, “one-size-fits-all” econometric models commonly used to predict entry into self-employment fall short. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Magnus Lofstrom & Timothy Bates, 2013. "African Americans’ pursuit of self-employment," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 73-86, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:sbusec:v:40:y:2013:i:1:p:73-86
    DOI: 10.1007/s11187-011-9347-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert W. Fairlie, 2013. "Minority and immigrant entrepreneurs: access to financial capital," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 8, pages 153-175 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Aaron K. Chatterji & Kenneth Y. Chay & Robert W. Fairlie, 2014. "The Impact of City Contracting Set-Asides on Black Self-Employment and Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(3), pages 507-561.
    3. Ashwini Deshpande & Smriti Sharma, 2016. "Disadvantage and discrimination in self-employment: caste gaps in earnings in Indian small businesses," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 325-346, February.
    4. repec:spr:blkpoe:v:44:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s12114-017-9249-x is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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).
    6. Robert W. Fairlie & Harry A. Krashinsky, 2012. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, And Entrepreneurship Revisited," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(2), pages 279-306, June.
    7. Amaechi N. Nwaokoro, 2017. "Survey of Free Market Principles for Encouraging Market: Participation of African American and the Economically Challenged," International Journal of Economics and Finance, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 9(1), pages 130-144, January.
    8. 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.
    9. Robert W. Fairlie, 2013. "Entrepreneurship, Economic Conditions, and the Great Recession," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(2), pages 207-231, June.
    10. Marios Michaelides, 2017. "Nascent Entrepreneurship and Race: Evidence from the GATE Experiment," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 02-2017, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    11. Nadia Simoes & Nuno Crespo & Sandrina B. Moreira, 2016. "Individual Determinants Of Self-Employment Entry: What Do We Really Know?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 783-806, September.
    12. repec:kap:sbusec:v:50:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9878-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. 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.
    14. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth & Belton, Willie, 2009. "Coming to America: Does Immigrant's Home Country Economic Status Impact the Probability of Self-Employment in the U.S.?," IZA Discussion Papers 4178, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Loren Henderson & Cedric Herring & Hayward Horton & Melvin Thomas, 2015. "Credit Where Credit is Due?: Race, Gender, and Discrimination in the Credit Scores of Business Startups," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 459-479, December.
    16. 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 Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-employment; Entrepreneurship; Entry barriers; African American; J15; J16; L26;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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