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Characteristics of migrant entrepreneurship in Europe

  • Tüzin Baycan-Levent
  • Peter Nijkamp

The present paper aims to investigate and compare various modalities of migrant entrepreneurship in European countries in order to design a systematic classification of migrant entrepreneurship and to highlight key factors of migrant entrepreneurship in Europe. The paper is based on a comparative assessment of available quantitative data and qualitative information derived from a broad review of findings from previous studies in the literature. Our quantitative evaluation includes the European OECD countries, while our qualitative investigation addresses migrant entrepreneurship experiences in eight European countries: Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, and the UK. The results of our comparative analysis show that the general picture of European migrant entrepreneurship is determined by some distinct push factors such as high unemployment rates and low participation rates or low status in the labour market as well as by an accompanying factor, namely mixed embeddedness. The results of our comparative evaluation are summarized in a systematic typological table. These show that, while an informal and labour-intensive sector, an underground economy, and small companies and traditional households prompt migrant entrepreneurship in Southern European countries, an over-representation of non-Western immigrants among the self-employed, as well as relatively lower income levels of self-employed immigrants compared to both self-employed natives and employed immigrants are decisive for migrant entrepreneurship in Northern European countries.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/08985620903020060
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Entrepreneurship & Regional Development.

Volume (Year): 21 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 375-397

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Handle: RePEc:taf:entreg:v:21:y:2009:i:4:p:375-397
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  1. Constant, Amelie F. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2004. "The Making of Entrepreneurs in Germany: Are Native Men and Immigrants Alike?," IZA Discussion Papers 1440, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 485-506.
  3. 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.
  4. Gwendolyn Sasse & Eiko Thielemann, 2005. "A Research Agenda for the Study of Migrants and Minorities in Europe," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(4), pages 655-671, November.
  5. Andersson Joona, Pernilla & Wadensjö, Eskil, 2004. "Self-Employed Immigrants in Denmark and Sweden: A Way to Economic Self-Reliance?," IZA Discussion Papers 1130, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Enno Masurel & Peter Nijkamp & Murat Tastan & Gabriella Vindigni, 2001. "Motivations and Performance Conditions for Ethnic Entrepreneurship," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-048/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. Tuzin Baycan Levent & Enno Masurel & Peter Nijkamp, 2003. "Diversity in Entrepreneurship: Ethnic and Female Roles in Urban Economic Life," Working Papers 2003.15, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  8. Andersson Joona, Pernilla & Wadensjö, Eskil, 2004. "Why Do Self-Employed Immigrants in Denmark and Sweden Have Such Low Incomes?," IZA Discussion Papers 1280, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2004. "European Labour Mobility: Challenges and Potentials," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 460, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  10. Tito Boeri & Herbert Brücker, 2005. "Why are Europeans so tough on migrants?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(44), pages 629-703, October.
  11. Borooah, Vani K & Hart, Mark, 1999. "Factors Affecting Self-Employment among Indian and Black Caribbean Men in Britain," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 111-29, September.
  12. Giles A. Barrett & Trevor P. Jones & David McEvoy, 1996. "Ethnic Minority Business: Theoretical Discourse in Britain and North America," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 33(4-5), pages 783-809, May.
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