38 Recent ethnic minority immigrants face a new social context, and it may take time for them to adjust before embarking on a new venture that requires local resources. There is some evidence for this, apart from the U.K. study by Levie, although ethnic minority immigrants are not distin- guished from ethnic majority immigrants in all studies. In Sweden, a detailed study of self-employed immigrants by Mats Hammarstedt suggested that recent ethnic minority (i.e., non-Nordic) immigrants, irrespective of origin, had lower rates of self-employment than the native population. 39 More established immi- grants from southern and western Europe and Asia had higher levels, but that was not true of immigrants from other regions of the world. George Borjas also found that self-employment rates were lower among recent immigrants than among those who had been resident for five to ten years. 40 However, Felix Buchel and Joachim Frick studied sources of income in a number of European countries (but not the United Kingdom or Germany) and found that the proportion of income from self-employment was about the same for immigrants as for native-born across Europe. 41 Together, these studies suggest that if entrepreneurship is ini- tially low among recent immigrants in Europe, it may rise to at least match native- born rates once immigrants have become established. From this summary of research on ethnic and immigrant entrepreneurship rates, it appears that ethnic minority and immigrant status, on their own, do not necessarily bring a higher propensity to engage in entrepreneurial activity. This is because of the need to consider other contingent factors, such as which ethnic minority an individual identifies with, the length of time an individual has lived in the host country; various personal attributes, the country of origin, the cir- cumstances which led to migration, and the opportunities presented by the host environment. Further insight into how such factors are interrelated may be gained from the following section. WHY DO DIFFERENT ETHNIC AND IMMIGRANT GROUPS HAVE SUCH DIFFERENT RATES OF ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY? There is a long-established literature on what makes ethnic minority and immigrant groups more or less entrepreneurial. 42 One stream of literature took the view that in ethnically stratified societies, opportunities emerged to act as economic middlemen. Early writers observed that certain ethnic groups acted as 164 PEOPLE
middlemen between the dominant class or race, and subject or minority races or ethnic groups. The minority groups constituted both markets and sources of supply for the ethnic majority groups and vice versa, but typically the majority would refuse to trade directly with certain minority groups thus creating an arbitrage opportunity for an ethnic minority group that was tolerated by both.
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- Fall '19