They are not all the same: immigrant enterprises, transnationalism, and development*

Alejandro Portes, Brandon P. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The literature on immigrant entrepreneurship in the advanced countries tends to paint these initiatives in homogeneous colors. A debate lingers as well on the economic returns to self-employment by immigrant and ethnic groups. We present recent data demonstrating again the significant payoff to autonomous enterprise among all ethnic groups, but also the major differences in such returns among them. This provides the basis for a typology of immigrant enterprises and an analysis of their causes and potential effects for the development of sending nations. Human capital, social capital, and modes of incorporation are the principal determinants of types of immigrant enterprises in host nations. The stance of home country states determines the development potential of high-tech immigrant enterprises. Data and examples supporting these conclusions are presented and their theoretical and practical implications discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1991-2007
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 26 2020


  • Immigrant enterprises
  • transnationalism and development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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