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The Effect of Immigration on Native Self-Employment

Robert Fairlie () and Bruce Meyer

No 7561, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: A rapidly growing literature examines the impact of immigrants on the labor market outcomes of native-born Americans. However, the impact of immigration on natives in self-employment has not been examined, despite the over-representation of immigrants in that sector. We first present a new general equilibrium model of self-employment and wage/salary work. For a range of plausible parameter values, the model predicts small negative effects of immigration on native self-employment rates and earnings. Using 1980 and 1990 Census microdata, we then examine the relationship between changes in immigration and native self-employment rates and earnings across 132 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. We find evidence supporting the hypothesis that self-employed immigrants displace self-employed natives. The effects are much larger than those predicted by simulations of the theoretical model. Immigrants, however, do not have a negative effect on native self-employment earnings. Our findings are similar if we weight immigration rates by the propensity of immigrant groups to be self-employed or if we try alternative estimation techniques and specifications.

JEL-codes: J23 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lab
Date: 2000-02
Note: LS
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Published as Fairlie, Robert W. and Rebecca A. London, "The Effect of Incremental Benefit Levels on Births to AFDC Recipients," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 16, no. 4 (Autumn 1997): 575-597
Published as Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 21, no. 3 (July 2003): 619-650

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Related works:
Working Paper: The Effect of Immigration on Native Self-Employment (2014) Downloads
Journal Article: The Effect of Immigration on Native Self-Employment (2003) Downloads
Working Paper: The Effect of Immigration on Native Self-Employment Downloads
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