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Trapped in small business? An investigation of three generations of migrants from Turkey to Western Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1214-1232
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number7
Early online date10 May 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 21 Apr 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 10 May 2017
DatePublished (current) - 19 May 2018


This article examines the self-employment behaviour of three generations of migrants from Turkey living in Europe to understand its implications for their economic adaptation into the receiving societies. It specifically investigates the likely generational differences in their propensity to engage in small businesses and the extent to which they are transmitted across generations. The research is based on the 2000 Families Survey, which draws parallel samples of migrant and non-migrant families from their origins in Turkey and traces them across Turkey and Europe over multiple generations. The data are drawn from a subset of personal interviews with 1743 economically active settlers nested within 836 families. The results challenge the assimilation theory but lend support to the disadvantage thesis by demonstrating that the younger generations, including the better educated, are significantly engaged in small, low-status businesses of their parents regardless of their language proficiency, citizenship status and country of residence.

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Peer-reviewed version of full-text, despite template watermark.

    Research areas

  • Ethnic entrepreneurship, Intergenerational transmission of small business, Migrant entrepreneurship, Self-employment, Turkish diaspora in Europe

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor & Francis at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 417 KB, PDF document


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