New migrant businesses and their workers: developing, but not transforming, the ethnic economy

Paul Edwards, Monder Ram, Trevor Jones, Sabina Doldor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Studies of businesses established by migrants to the UK traditionally stressed coethnic
    relationships as economic resources. More recent work identifies a new
    ethnic economy characterized by migrants’ common experiences, with
    ethnicity playing less of a role. The present study complements this newer
    perspective through investigation of the experiences of forty-nine business
    owners and sixty of their workers in the West Midlands. Economic
    relationships were central to the operation of migrant firms, and a minority of
    firms escaped from sectors traditionally dominated by migrant firms. Yet
    substantial continuity was also evident, including exclusion from the
    mainstream on ethnic lines and relations with workers characterized by
    informality. Migrant business is evolving but it retains many of its features;
    this pattern can be explained by combining the mixed embeddedness theory
    of the enterprise with labour process analysis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1587-1617
    Number of pages31
    JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
    Issue number9
    Early online date8 Jan 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Ethnic economy
    • Labour process
    • Mixed embeddedness
    • Migrant business
    • West Midlands
    • Worker agency

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences(all)


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