Latino Immigrant Self-Employment: Changing Opportunity Structures in Four Ethnic Economies, 1990-2000

Stephanie A. Bohon, University of Georgia

Despite the fact that self-employment offers many advantages for immigrants, some groups are more likely than others to be self-employed. This work investigates self-employment probabilities among Latin American immigrants of different place of origin groups within various ethnic economies in the United States dominated by Latino business owners and the changes that have occurred between 1990 and 2000. In this investigation, I explore whether or not the presence of a dominant immigrant group reduces the self-employment odds of other Latin American immigrants and whether or not the self-employment context is changing with the marked increase in Latino immigration. The results indicate that, regardless of human capital and other factors, place of origin continues to significantly reduce self-employment for some immigrant groups relative to the dominant group. I speculate that dominant groups may have exclusive access to capital or other means of blocking out-groups from entering into self-employment.

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Presented in Session 46: North American Labor Markets