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Self-Employed Immigrants in Denmark and Sweden: A Way to Economic Self-Reliance?

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  • Andersson Joona, Pernilla

    () (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Wadensjö, Eskil

    () (Stockholm University)

Abstract

Immigrants have a weak position in the labour market in most European countries. Many have difficulties in establishing themselves in the labour market, the employment rate is low and the hourly wages are generally lower than what could be expected from characteristics (age, gender, education). Many have to rely on the social transfer payments including social assistance. One way to avoid the problems in getting a job is to become self-employed. In this paper we make use of two large data-sets to study self-employment among immigrants in Denmark and Sweden. The three main issues covered are 1) if the immigrants are overrepresented among the self-employed, 2) the characteristics of self-employed immigrants, and 3) the incomes of the self-employed immigrants. In each case we compare the situation in the two countries. The immigrants, especially immigrants from non-Western countries, are overrepresented among the self-employed in both countries. The selfemployed immigrants in both countries have relatively low incomes, lower than natives with the corresponding characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1130
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blanchflower, David G., 2000. "Self-employment in OECD countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 471-505, September.
    2. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-827, August.
    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. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-748, August.
    5. Borjas, George J & Bronars, Stephen G, 1989. "Consumer Discrimination and Self-employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 581-605, June.
    6. Jensen, Kraen Blume & Ejrnaes, Mette & Nielsen, Helena Skyt & Würtz, Allan, "undated". "Self-Employment among Immigrants: A Last Resort?," Economics Working Papers 2003-13, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    7. Moore, Robert L, 1983. "Employer Discrimination: Evidence from Self-Employed Workers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 496-501, August.
    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. Clark, Kenneth & Drinkwater, Stephen, 2000. "Pushed out or pulled in? Self-employment among ethnic minorities in England and Wales," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 603-628, September.
    10. Blume, Kraen & Gustafsson, Bjorn & Pedersen, Peder J. & Verner, Mette, 2003. "A Tale of Two Countries: Poverty among Immigrants in Denmark and Sweden since 1984," WIDER Working Paper Series 036, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1996. "Self-Employment and Windfall Gains: Evidence from the Swedish Lottery," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(439), pages 1515-1526, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David G. Blanchflower, 2004. "Self-Employment: More may not be better," NBER Working Papers 10286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Cui, Yuling & Nahm, Daehoon & Tani, Massimiliano, 2013. "Self-Employment in China: Are Rural Migrant Workers and Urban Residents Alike?," IZA Discussion Papers 7191, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Andersson Joona, Pernilla & Wadensjö, Eskil, 2006. "Employees Who Become Self-Employed: Do Labour Income and Wages Have an Impact?," IZA Discussion Papers 1971, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Tüzin Baycan-Levent & Peter Nijkamp, 2009. "Characteristics of migrant entrepreneurship in Europe," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(4), pages 375-397, July.
    5. Tüzin Baycan-Levent & Peter Nijkamp, 2010. "Migrant Entrepreneurship in a Diverse Europe: In Search of Sustainable Development," Chapters,in: The Sustainability of Cultural Diversity, chapter 16 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. 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).
    7. Fairlie, Robert W. & Lofstrom, Magnus, 2013. "Immigration and Entrepreneurship," IZA Discussion Papers 7669, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Andersson Joona, Pernilla & Wadensjö, Eskil, 2004. "Other Forms of Employment: Temporary Employment Agencies and Self-Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 1166, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Marcus H. Böhme & Sarah Kups, 2017. "The economic effects of labour immigration in developing countries: A literature review," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 335, OECD Publishing.
    10. Nekby, Lena, 2008. "Active labor market programs for the integration of youths and immigrants into the labor market: the Nordic experience," Macroeconomía del Desarrollo 73, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    11. Horemans, Jeroen & Marx, Ive, 2017. "Poverty and Material Deprivation among the Self-Employed in Europe: An Exploration of a Relatively Uncharted Landscape," IZA Discussion Papers 11007, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigrant workers; self-employment;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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