The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants
NBER Working Paper No. 1942
Self-employment is an important aspect of the immigrant experience in
the labor market. Self-employment rates for immigrants exceed 15 percent
for some national groups. This paper addresses three related questions on
the self-employment experience of immigrants. First, how do self-employment
rates of immigrants compare to those of native-born men? Second, is there
an 'assimilationtt effect on the self-employment propensity of immigrants?
Finally, are the more recent waves of immigrants facing different self-
employment opportunities than the earlier waves? Using the 1970 and 1980
U.S. Censuses, the analysis shows that indeed self-employment rates of
immigrants exceed those of native-born men; that there is a strong, positive
impact of assimilation on self-employment rates; and that more recent waves
of immigrants are opting with increasing frequency for the self-employment
Published: Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 21, no. 4 (1986): 485-506.