Self-Employment Of Chinese Immigrants In Ethnic Enclaves: A Comparative Study In Flushing And Monterey Park City

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Self-employment has gained prominence over the past four decades as an avenue for immigrants in ethnic enclaves to pursue economic prosperity. This study examines the merits of an ethnic enclave economy in boosting self-employed immigrant entrepreneurial ventures compared with the mainstream economy. Macro and micro accountings to perpetuate self-employment between two large Chinese clusters are included. A comparative analysis of two ethnic enclave economies in Flushing, Queens and Monterey Park City, Los Angeles is presented in this paper with the intent to identify similar and/or different ways that factors interact to facilitate selfemployment in ethnic enclaves. I hope to demonstrate that the external configuration structured by institutional frameworks and local contingencies at the two localities, in juxtaposition with internal forces such as human and social capital of immigrants, result in underlying divergences and similarities in the two ethnic enclave economies. I underscore the importance of both objective and subjective factors in influencing self-employment, i.e., that a combined force emerges from both macro-institutions and micro-environment projects on what, how, and where human capital and social capital are generated and retained, thereby influencing the incidence of self-employment within an ethnic enclave through the function of human and social capital of an immigrant. In particular, I stress the utility of an ethnic enclave economy as the breeding ground that prepares the fundamental setting for ethnic self-employment. Furthermore, being embedded in two heterogeneous enclave economies yields major differentials in accounting for the entry of self-employment within the enclave. Two iii data files are synthesized to yield a comparative analysis of ethnic enclaves in Flushing and Monterey Park City: the Survey of Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles (ICPSR, 2004) and the Survey of Immigration Second Generation in Metropolitan New York (ICPSR, 2000). Major findings imply that the structure of an ethnic enclave economy shaped by the interplay of global and national conditions and local contingence lays the ground for the formation of human and social capital of individual immigrants. Such a condition is strongly relevant to ensuring economic advancement through self-employment. iv

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Nee, Victor

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Lichter, Daniel T.

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Asian Studies

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M.A., Asian Studies

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Master of Arts

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