The Making of Entrepreneurs in Germany: Are Native Men and Immigrants Alike?
by Amelie F. Constant, Klaus F. Zimmermann
(December 2004)
published in: Small Business Economics, 2006, 26 (3), 279-300

This paper uses a state of the art three-stage technique to identify the characteristics of the self-employed immigrant and native men in Germany and to understand their underlying drive into self-employment. Employing data from the German Socioeconomic Panel 2000 release we find that self-employment is not significantly affected by exposure to Germany or by human capital. But this choice has a very strong intergenerational link and it is also related to homeownership and financial worries. While individuals are strongly pulled into self-employment if it offers higher earnings, immigrants are additionally pushed into self-employment when they feel discriminated. Married immigrants are more likely to go into self-employment, but less likely when they have young children. Immigrants living with foreign passports in ethnic households are more likely self-employed than native Germans. The earnings of self-employed men increase with exposure to Germany, hours worked and occupational prestige; they decrease with high regional unemployment to vacancies ratios. Everything else equal, the earnings of self-employed Germans are not much different from the earnings of the self-employed immigrants, including those who have become German citizens. However, immigrants suffer a strong earnings penalty if they feel discriminated against while they receive a premium if they are German educated.
Text: See Discussion Paper No. 1440