Abstract

Recent studies examine the determinants of entrepreneurial efforts among immigrants (Borjas, 1986; Fairlie and Meyer, 1996; Lofstrom 2002). In general, studies point out that migrant status and ethnicity affect the individual propensity to start a new business (Levie, 2006) and that self-employment rates among immigrants are higher than those of natives (Yuengert, 1995). The literature shows that skills are important in the process of shaping the economic performance of immigrants (Borjas, 1999). In fact, higher levels of human capital are observed to increase entrepreneurship rates (Light and Rosenstein, 1995) and are positively related to business longevity and profits (Bates, 1994) among all ethnic and racial groups and categories. We use a human capital theoretical framework (Becker, 1975) to assess the importance of entrepreneurs’ education and different types of previous occupational experience in explaining entrepreneurship among immigrants. Our goals are twofold: First, to understand if immigrants in Portugal exhibit higher entrepreneurship rates than those of native individuals. Second, to study the impact of human capital upon start-up of firms owned by immigrants, when compared with firms owned by native-born entrepreneurs.

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