IZA DP No. 2101: Hispanic Self-Employment: A Dynamic Analysis of Business Ownership
substantially revised version published as 'Mexican- American Self-Employment : A Dynamic Analysis of Business Ownership' in: Research in Labor Economics, 2009, 29, 197 - 227
This paper analyzes causes of the low self-employment rates among Hispanics, which are nearly half of non-Hispanic white self-employment rates. Relatively little is known of the reason for the lower entrepreneurship rates among Hispanics, the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S. The paper analyzes the self-employment gap by studying self-employment entry and exits, which determine the observed self-employment rates, utilizing nationally representative longitudinal data, the 1996 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The data reveals differences between Mexican-Hispanics and Hispanics not of Mexican descent, referred to as Other-Hispanics. While Mexican-Hispanics are less likely to enter self-employment, relative to whites, Other-Hispanics are more likely to start a business. The differences however, are relatively small but shown to be meaningful in explaining the white-Hispanic self-employment rate gap. The data show large differences in business survival rates between Hispanics and whites. Mexican-Hispanics are almost twice as likely to exit business ownership in a year compared to whites. Our results indicate that differences in education and financial wealth are important factors in explaining differences in entrepreneurship across groups. We also show that the lower self-employment entry rates among Mexican-Hispanics is due to lower entry rates into business ownership of firms in relatively high barrier industries. In fact, Hispanics are more likely to start-up a business in a low barrier industry than whites. Differences in the industry composition across groups is also discussed and analyzed as a determinant of differences in business survival rates.