December 2007

No. 3250: The Persistence of Self-Employment Across Borders: New Evidence on Legal Immigrants to the United States

published in: Economics Bulletin, 2013, 33(1), 126-137

Using recently-available data from the New Immigrant Survey, we find that previous self-employment experience in an immigrant’s country of origin is an important determinant of their self-employment status in the U.S., increasing the probability of being self-employed by about 7 percent. Our results improve on the previous literature by measuring home-country self-employment directly rather than relying on proxy measures. We find little evidence to suggest that home-country self-employment has a significant effect on U.S. wages in either paid employment or self employment.