Sine, Wesley : Seed Grant, 2016-2017


Wesley Sine (Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management)

College of Business
Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
Project Title: 
Refugees and Entrepreneurship
Project Abstract: 
A great deal of scholarship has been undertaken in the area of immigrant and ethnic entrepreneurship, but empirical research has tended not to distinguish between types of migrants in their analyses (Wauters and Lambrecht, 2008). Migration to new countries can occur for both economic and political reasons [i.e. refugees]. Conceptual differences between refugees and other economic migrants is well documented (Hein, 1993; Rose, 1993; Silove et al., 1998), but research in the area of refugee entrepreneurship remains scant (Wauters and Lambrecht, 2008). What little scholarly that has been undertaken in the area of refugee entrepreneurship is limited to qualitative case studies within the context of developed countries (Fong et al., 2007; Wauters and Lambrecht, 2008; Gold, 1992). While the context of developed countries may make sense for studying the entrepreneurial behavior of economic immigrants because, worldwide, they predominantly settle in the metropolitan agglomerations of the developed world (Waldinger, 1989; Aliaga-Isla and Rialp,2013), 86% of refugees are received into developing countries that are struggling to meet the needs of their own people while only 5% are received into the five richest countries (Norton, 2016). Moreover, 50% of the world’s displaced population is hosted in five Middle Eastern countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Norton, 2016). In collaboration with Jordan’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, we propose conducting longitudinal research to understand 1) what facilitates refugee entrepreneurship in the regions that host them, and 2) how refugees shape native entrepreneurship in the regions where they resettle. Our primary objective is to build understanding with regards to how population changes, such as reception of large populations of refugees, can influence economic phenomena such as the emergence of new entrepreneurial opportunities; new business founding, growth, and survival rates; and the entrepreneurial process for both refugee and native populations in the host country.