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Immigrants’ Entrepreneurial Opportunities: The Case of the Chinese in Portugal


  • Catarina Reis Oliveira

    (SociNova New University of Lisbon, Portugal)


Why do some foreign nationalities seem to have entrepreneurial initiatives and others don’t? Why do certain foreign communities tend to build an ethnic economy, and others melt in the economy of the reception country? The analysis made so far of the modes of incorporation of the different Chinese immigrant communities in Portugal allowed to evidence that, unlike what some authors defend, it is not only the cultural factors that channel immigrants into certain segments of the labour market. Several structural factors associated to these immigrants’ arrival should be considered: the immigration policy of the host society; the reasons that generated the migratory flow; the existence of a co-ethnic community in the country and its economic incorporation; the operation of social networks; the possibility to acquire capital among the community (informal resources); and the potential market of the host society. Furthermore, in Portugal, as in Southern Europe, the informal economy can be an opportunity to self-employment - not so easy in North European countries where institutional control is stronger and competition is higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Catarina Reis Oliveira, 2003. "Immigrants’ Entrepreneurial Opportunities: The Case of the Chinese in Portugal," Working Papers 2003.75, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2003.75

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    2. Grilo, Isabel & Shy, Oz & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 2001. "Price competition when consumer behavior is characterized by conformity or vanity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 385-408, June.
    3. Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
    4. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-877, October.
    5. d'Aspremont, C & Gabszewicz, Jean Jaskold & Thisse, J-F, 1979. "On Hotelling's "Stability in Competition"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1145-1150, September.
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    More about this item


    Immigrants; Entrepreneurship; Structural opportunities; Ethnic resources;

    JEL classification:

    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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