The enclave and the entrants: patterns of ethnic enterprise in Miami before and after Mariel

A. Portes, Leif Jensen

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387 Scopus citations


Four hypotheses concerning the character and consequences of participation in an ethnic enclave economy are examined. The first concerns the justifiability of operationalizing enclave participation on the basis of place of residence. The second and third pertain to the effects of ethnic economy participation on entrepreneurs and workers. The fourth deals with determinants of self-employment among ethnic minorities. Two data sets are employed in this analysis: the 1980 Census individual sample for Cuban-born adult immigrants in South Florida and a 1983-86 longitudinal survey of Mariel entrants in the same area. These two independent data sets permit a more authoritative evaluation of the hypotheses. Results consistently contradict depictions of ethnic enterprise as vehicles for exploitation and of enclaves as mere residential agglomerations. These structures are defined by physical proximity of firms, not dwellings. Theoretical implications of these findings, in particular the relationship between intact nuclear families and the rise of an entrepreneurial minority, are discussed. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-949
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican sociological review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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