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Self-Employment Dynamics across the Business Cycle: Migrants versus Natives

  • Amelie Constant
  • Klaus F. Zimmermann

Economically active people are either in gainful employment, are unemployed or self-employed. We are interested in the dynamics of the transitions between these states across the business cycle. It is generally perceived that employment or self-employment are absorbing states. However, innovations, structural changes and business cycles generate strong adjustment processes that lead to fluctuations between employment and self-employment, directly or through the unemployment state. Migrants are more likely to be sensitive to adjustment pressures than natives, since they have less stable jobs and choose more often self-employment to avoid periods of unemployment. These issues are investigated using a huge micro data set generated from 19 waves of the German Socioeconomic Panel. The findings suggest that the conditional probabilities of entry into self-employment are more than twice as high from the status of unemployment as from the status of employment. Self-employment is also an important channel back to regular employment. Business cycle effects strongly impact the employment transition matrix, and migrants take a larger part in the adjustment process. They use self-employment as a mechanism to circumvent and escape unemployment and to integrate into the host country's labor market.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.42664.de/dp455.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 455.

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Length: 51 p.
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp455
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  1. Constant, Amelie & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2003. "The Dynamics of Repeat Migration: A Markov Chain Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 4124, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
  3. Carrasco, R., 1997. "Transitions to and from Self-Employment in Spain: An Empirical Analysis," Papers 9710, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  4. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
  5. Clark, Kenneth & Drinkwater, Stephen, 1998. "Ethnicity and Self-Employment in Britain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(3), pages 383-407, August.
  6. David G. Blanchflower, 2004. "Self-Employment: More may not be better," NBER Working Papers 10286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kræn Blume Jensen & Mette Ejrnæs & Helena Skyt Nielsen & Allan Würtz, 2003. "Self-Employment among Immigrants: A Last Resort?," CAM Working Papers 2003-08, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  8. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 485-506.
  9. Dunn, Thomas & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 2000. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment: Evidence from Intergenerational Links," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 282-305, April.
  10. Amelie Constant & Yochanan Shachmurove & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2003. "What Makes an Entrepreneur and Does It Pay?: Native Men, Turks, and Other Migrants in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 386, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  11. Fairlie, Robert, 2014. "Ethnic and Racial Self-Employment Differences and Possible Explanations," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt24p7v6gc, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  12. David Blanchflower & A Oswald, 1993. "Entrepreneurship," CEP Discussion Papers dp0134, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Christopher J. Flinn & James J. Heckman, 1982. "Models for the Analysis of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew & Stutzer, Alois, 2001. "Latent entrepreneurship across nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 680-691, May.
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