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Do the Falling Earnings of Immigrants Apply to Self-employed Immigrants?

  • Frenette, Marc

Many studies have examined the relative success of immigrant men in the (primarily paid) workforce. Despite the fact that they represent approximately one-sixth of the immigrant workforce, self-employed immigrants are a relatively understudied group. This study uses the 1981, 1986, 1991, and 1996 Census files to assess the success of self-employed immigrant men (compared with self-employed native-born men), using the relative success of paid immigrant men as the benchmark. After controlling for various other factors, recent immigrants (those arriving within the last five years) are as likely to be self-employed as the native-born and, over time spent in the country, are more likely to become self-employed. Recent immigrants in the 1990s were far more likely to be self-employed than the native-born. Successive cohorts of recent immigrants have fared progressively worse in the paid labour market compared with paid native-born workers. This is not the case in the self-employed workforce. Although self-employed recent immigrants typically report lower net self-employment income upon entry than the self-employed native-born, the gap has not grown. Instead, it has followed a cyclical movement: narrowing at the peak, and widening in times of weaker economic activity.

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Paper provided by Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch in its series Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series with number 2002195e.

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Date of creation: 09 Dec 2002
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Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2002195e
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  1. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1994. "The Performance of Immigrants in the Canadian Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 369-405, July.
  2. Mary L. Grant, 1999. "Evidence of New Immigrant Assimilation in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(4), pages 930-955, August.
  3. Lin, Zhengxi & Picot, Garnett & Compton, Janice, 2000. " The Entry and Exit Dynamics of Self-Employment in Canada," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 105-25, September.
  4. Green, David A, 1999. "Immigrant Occupational Attainment: Assimilation and Mobility over Time," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 49-79, January.
  5. Bernt Bratsberg & James F. Ragan Jr., 2002. "The Impact of Host-Country Schooling on Earnings: A Study of Male Immigrants in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(1), pages 63-105.
  6. Bloom, D. & Grenier, G. & Gunderson, M., 1993. "The Changing Labour Market Position of Canadian Immigrants," Working Papers 9305e, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  7. Paul Maxim, 1992. "Immigrants, visible minorities, and self-employment," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 181-198, May.
  8. 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.
  9. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 1942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Schuetze, Herb J., 2000. "Taxes, economic conditions and recent trends in male self-employment: a Canada-US comparison," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 507-544, September.
  11. Laporte, Christine & Rivard, Maud-Catherine & Finnie, Ross, 2002. "Setting up Shop: Self-employment Amongst Canadian College and University Graduates," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2002183e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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