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Labor Market Assimilation and the Self-Employment Decision of Immigrant Entrepreneurs

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  • Lofstrom, Magnus

    () (Public Policy Institute of California)

Abstract

This paper uses data from the 1980 and 1990 U.S. Censuses to study labor market assimilation of self-employed immigrants. Separate earnings functions for the self-employed and wage/salary workers are estimated. To control for endogenous sorting into the sectors, models of the self-employment decision are estimated. Variables for the proportion of immigrants in the population and average earnings ratios are used as instruments to control for self-selection into self-employment and consequently identify the inverse Mills correction term in the earnings models. Self-employed immigrants do substantially better in the labor market than wage/salary immigrants. Earnings of self-employed immigrants are predicted to converge with natives’ wage/salary earnings at about age 30 and natives’ self-employed earnings at about age 40. Including the self-employed in the sample reduces the immigrant-native earnings gap by, on average, roughly 14 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Lofstrom, Magnus, 1999. "Labor Market Assimilation and the Self-Employment Decision of Immigrant Entrepreneurs," IZA Discussion Papers 54, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp54
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Julian R. Betts & Magnus Lofstrom, 2000. "The Educational Attainment of Immigrants: Trends and Implications," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 51-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    4. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-489, October.
    5. Andrew M. Yuengert, 1995. "Testing Hypotheses of Immigrant Self-Employment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 194-204.
    6. 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.
    7. Carliner, Geoffrey, 1980. "Wages, Earnings and Hours of First, Second, and Third Generation American Males," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(1), pages 87-102, January.
    8. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
    9. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
    10. Borjas, George J & Bronars, Stephen G, 1991. "Immigration and the Family," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 123-148, April.
    11. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 485-506.
    12. Robert W. Fairlie & Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "The Ethnic and Racial Character of Self-Employment," NBER Working Papers 4791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    self-employment; assimilation; Immigration;

    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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