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The Influence of Role Models on Immigrant Self-Employment: A Spatial Analysis for Switzerland

Listed author(s):
  • G. Guerra
  • R. Patuelli

Theoretical and empirical research suggests a connection between the presence of role models and the emergence of entrepreneurs. Existing entrepreneurs may act as role models for self-employment candidates by providing successful examples. By explicitly considering the self-employment rates of the natives, which may influence locally the decisions of immigrants towards entrepreneurship, we develop a simple model that explains immigrant self-employment rates for a sample of 2,490 Swiss municipalities. In addition, we accommodate for the presence of spatial spillovers in the distribution of rates, and test a spatial autoregressive model which takes into account the average self-employment rates of immigrants living in nearby municipalities. Our evidence shows a significant (positive) effect of such spatial network effects, which are characterized by a quick distance decay, suggesting spatial spillovers at the household and social network level. Additionally, we show that local conditions and immigrant pool characteristics differ, with respect to self-employment choices, when examining separately urban and rural contexts.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp745.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp745
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  1. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 1942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Sueli Moro & Flavia Chein & Ana Flávia Machado, 2003. "Self-employment in Brazil and its determinants: a spatial analysis," Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG td204, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
  5. Giuliano Guerra & Roberto Patuelli & Rico Maggi, 2010. "Ethnic Concentration, Cultural Identity and Immigrant Self-Employment in Switzerland," Quaderni della facoltà di Scienze economiche dell'Università di Lugano 1008, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
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  17. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 95-126, December.
  18. Minniti, Maria, 2005. "Entrepreneurship and network externalities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-27, May.
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