NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

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

Robert Fairlie, Christopher Woodruff

NBER Working Paper No. 11527
Issued in August 2005
NBER Program(s):International Trade and Investment, Labor Studies

Nearly a quarter of Mexico's workforce is self employed. But in the U.S. 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 U.S., however, the data show self employment rates are much higher in ethnic enclaves. In PUMAS with a high percentage of residents of Latino origin, rates of self employment are comparable to rates among non-Latino whites. The data also indicate that the lack of English language ability and the lack of legal status among Mexican American immigrants helps account for their lower rates of self employment.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11527

Published: Mexican Entrepreneurship: A Comparison of Self-Employment in Mexico and the United States , Robert W. Fairlie, Christopher Woodruff. in Mexican Immigration to the United States, Borjas. 2007

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