Low-skilled Immigrant Entrepreneurship

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Executive Summary

More than half of the foreign born workforce in the U.S. have no schooling beyond high school and about 20 percent of the low-skilled workforce are immigrants. More than 10 percent of these low-skilled immigrants are self-employed. Utilizing longitudinal data from the 1996, 2001 and 2004 Survey of Income and Program Participation panels, this paper analyzes the returns to self-employment among low-skilled immigrants. The authors compare annual earnings and earnings growth of immigrant entrepreneurs to immigrants in wage/salary employment as well as native born business owners.

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