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Skills and entrepreneurship: Are return migrants 'Jacks-of-all-trades'?

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  • Mahé, Clothilde

    () (UNU-MERIT)

Abstract

This paper examines whether and how return migrants may be more likely to be entrepreneurs. With reference to Lazear's Jack-of-all-trades hypothesis, we posit that return migrants may be more likely to choose self-employment as a result of the diverse work experience they gain as migrants. Using the 2012 Egyptian Labour Market Panel Survey, seemingly unrelated regression model estimates show that return migration increases the propensity to be self-employed, controlling for the possession of savings. This is found to be due to a Jack-of-all-trades effect, whereby migration helps accumulating more occupations and jobs. Sector-specific rather than multi-sector experience may also benefit entrepreneurship, as it was found that the more industries an emigrant worked in, the less the probability of self-employment upon return. Self-employed might thus need a generalist, balanced mix of occupational skills, within a relatively narrow set of industries. These findings hold for non-agricultural activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Mahé, Clothilde, 2016. "Skills and entrepreneurship: Are return migrants 'Jacks-of-all-trades'?," MERIT Working Papers 071, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2016071
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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2016/wp2016-071.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    International migration; Return migration; Entrepreneurship; Human capital; North Africa; Egypt;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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