Noneconomic Effects of Ethnic Entrepreneurship: A Focused Look at the Chinese and Korean Enclave Economies in Los Angeles

Zhou, M., & Cho, M.

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Zhou, M., & Cho, M. (2010). Noneconomic effects of ethnic entrepreneurship: A focused look at the Chinese and Korean enclave economies in Los Angeles. Thunderbird International Business Review, 52(2), 83-96.

In this article, we aim to develop a conceptual framework from a community perspective to examine the noneconomic effects of ethnic entrepreneurship, paying close attention to the linkage between entrepreneurship and community building. We base our analysis on ethnographic data from our comparative case studies of the Chinese and Korean enclave economies in Los Angeles. We argue that it is the social embeddedness of entrepreneurship, rather than individual entrepreneurs per se, that creates a unique social environment conducive to upward social mobility. This study suggests that ethnic entrepreneurship plays a pivotal role in immigrant adaptation beyond observable eco- nomic gains. Policy implications are discussed.

Main finding
The ethnic enclaves Chinatown and Koreatown in Los Angeles generate, outside social upward mobility as a result of economic success, also noneconomic effects. The varied effects on outcomes of social mobility is derived from the ethnic community that the local ethnic businesses are embedded in. The noneconomic effects that are generated are: local social structures, spaces for interaction, the return of non-coethnic and co-ethnic middle class, and social capital. The institutional and personal services offered in the enclave such as education point to 'institutional completeness' that can be found in an ethnic enslave depending on four factors: density, diversity, coethnicity and class. Policy-relevant lessons are to promote interethnic coalition to ensure wide availability of ethnic-bounded resources, to help build cross-business partnerships and promote a diversity of entrepreneurship to attract visitors.

Description of method used in the article
Comparative case study of two ethnic enclaves with use of ethnographic research methods (unspecified).

Policy implications

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