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Mexican Entrepreneurship: A Comparison of Self-Employment in Mexico and the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Fairlie, Robert W.

    () (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Woodruff, Christopher

    () (University of Oxford)

Abstract

Nearly a quarter of Mexico's workforce is self employed. In the United States, however, rates of self employment among Mexican Americans are only 6 percent, about half the rate among non-Latino whites. Using data from the Mexican and U.S. population census, we show that neither industrial composition nor differences in the age and education of Mexican born populations residing in Mexico and the U.S. accounts for the differences in the self employment rates in the two countries. Within the United States, however, estimates indicate that low levels of education and the youth of Mexican immigrants residing in the United States account for roughly half of the Mexican immigrant/U.S. total difference in self-employment rates for men and the entire difference for women. We also find some suggestive evidence that for both men and women, Mexican immigrant self-employment rates may be higher for those who reside in the United States legally and are fluent in English, and for men, those who live in ethnic enclaves.

Suggested Citation

  • Fairlie, Robert W. & Woodruff, Christopher, 2006. "Mexican Entrepreneurship: A Comparison of Self-Employment in Mexico and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 2039, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2039
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert W. Fairlie & Bruce D. Meyer, 2003. "The Effect of Immigration on Native Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 619-650, July.
    2. Antonio Spilimbergo & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1337-1357, December.
    3. Robert W. Fairlie & Alicia Robb, 2007. "Families, Human Capital, and Small Business: Evidence from the Characteristics of Business Owners Survey," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(2), pages 225-245, January.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
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    1. repec:rri:wpaper:201105 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Magnus Lofstrom & Timothy Bates, 2009. "Latina entrepreneurship," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 427-439, December.
    3. Saima Bashir & Tesfa Gebremedhin & Jerald Fletcher, 2011. "An Analysis of the Role of Self-Employment in the Economic Development of the Rural Northeastern United States," Working Papers Working Paper 2011-05, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mexico; self-employment; entrepreneurship; Mexican-Americans;

    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

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