Jangman Hong

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)






This is a quantitative research of immigrants' and minorities' self-employment in Canada. Using The Public Use Micro File of Canada, I will (1) empirically evaluate the effect of disadvantage, family and class resources, and segregation on self-employment propensity and income, and (2) assess the current theories by comparing minorities, nonminorities, the foreign-born, and the native-born. I first review five broad theoretical approaches including 'cultural theory', 'disadvantage theory', 'class resources theory', 'middleman minority theory', and 'opportunity structure theory', and analyze their various strengths and weaknesses. I suggest that despite their differences in emphasis, one of the common limitations of each of these approaches is that little attention is paid to the way that the self-employed sector is socially organized. A Logistic regression for propensity to be self-employed, and ordinary linear regression for income are used in this analysis. In this thesis, I show that disadvantaged groups are not more self-employed than non-disadvantaged groups, despite the disadvantage they face in the general labour market. This is contrary to some of the expectations associated with disadvantage theory. Next, I find that there is support for class resources theory in the findings. Concerning family resources theory, I show that marriage does not uniquely facilitate immigrants' and minorities' self-employment. Instead, marriage facilitates self-employment in all four groups. Also, married self-employed minorities and immigrants tend to earn less than their counterparts who are single, while married self-employed non-minorities and Canadian-born respondents tend to earn more than their counterparts who are single. Although more investigation is needed for this finding, it may be due to the concentration of immigrants' and minorities' small businesses in small-scale, low-profit industries. Segregation theory is proposed as a framework for this pattern.

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