Skip to main content

Immigration and Entrepreneurship in the United States (WP-20-45)

Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin Jones, J. Daniel Kim, and Javier Miranda

Immigration can expand labor supply and create greater competition for native-born workers. But immigrants may also start new firms, expanding labor demand. This paper uses U.S. administrative data and other data resources to study the role of immigrants in entrepreneurship. The researchers ask how often immigrants start companies, how many jobs these firms create, and how these firms compare with those founded by U.S.-born individuals. A simple model provides a measurement framework for addressing the dual roles of immigrants as founders and workers. The findings suggest that immigrants act more as "job creators" than "job takers" and that non-U.S. born founders play outsized roles in U.S. high-growth entrepreneurship.

This working paper is forthcoming in the American Economic Review.

Pierre Azoulay, International Programs Professor of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Benjamin Jones, Gordon and Llura Gund Family Professor of Entrepreneurship, Professor of Strategy, and IPR Associate, Northwestern University

J. Daniel Kim, Assistant Professor of Management, University of Pennsylvania

Javier Miranda, Economy-Wide Statistics Division, U.S. Bureau of the Census

Download PDF