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

  • Lofstrom, Magnus

    ()

    (Public Policy Institute of California)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 54.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Aug 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Population Economics, 2002, 15 (1), 83-114
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp54
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  1. 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 463-89, October.
  2. 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.
  3. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 1942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Julian R. Betts & Magnus Lofstrom, 1998. "The Educational Attainment of Immigrants: Trends and Implications," NBER Working Papers 6757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. George J. Borjas & Stephen G. Bronars, 1990. "Immigration and the Family," NBER Working Papers 3509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Andrew M. Yuengert, 1995. "Testing Hypotheses of Immigrant Self-Employment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 194-204.
  10. 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.
  11. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
  12. 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.
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