The Effect of Immigration on Native Self-Employment
We examine the impact of immigration on self-employed natives. In a new general equilibrium model of self-employment and wage/salary work, a range of plausible parameter values implies small negative effects of immigration on native self-employment rates and earnings. Using 1980 and 1990 Census microdata, we then examine the relationship between changes in immigration and native self-employment rates and earnings across 132 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. We find evidence suggesting that self-employed immigrants displace self-employed natives but do not have a negative effect on native self-employment earnings. The effects are much larger than those predicted by the theoretical model.
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