The Comparative Immigrant Entrepreneurship Project (CIEP)

Project Description

The CIEP survey of over 1,200 Colombian, Dominican, and Salvadoran family heads is the first to explicitly measure the extent of economic, political, and socio-cultural transnationalism among immigrants and to develop predictive models of these activities. The study was designed to examine the prevalence of transnational entrepreneurship in immigrant communities and to provide basic information about its empirical contours and correlates.  The research design targeted newer Latin American immigrant nationalities in their primary areas of residential concentration in the U.S.  and includes questions concerning the characteristics and regularity of the ties they maintain with their countries of origin.  Specifically, the coverage includes Colombians in Queens, NY;  Dominicans in Washington Heights (Upper Manhattan) and Providence, RI; and Salvadorans in the Washington DC metro area (the Adams Morgan section of DC and Alexandria, Virginia) and Los Angeles (Pico Union). 

The sampling strategy began with establishing contacts randomly in these communities with key informers to identify the local co-ethnic entrepreneurs.  These points of entry were followed through with a snowball sample to identify all the ethnic entrepreneurs in each of these communities.  This ensured sufficient coverage of the entrepreneurs whose business operations depend on maintaining regular ties to their countries of origin and those who operate primarily or entirely in the host society.  However, these communities are not populated exclusively by entrepreneurs.  Therefore a two-stage clustered residential sample was implemented. 
The first stage identified city blocks as primary sampling units in these neighborhoods and a simple random sample without replacement was drawn.  Within the primary sampling units the second stage consisted of a systematic sampling of housing units using either a one-in-four or a one-in-five sampling fraction.  A screener question for place of birth  was asked of the head of household at each selected residence to determine eligibility.  This sampling design yields equal probability of selection within sampling sites.  Sampling probabilities across sites, however, were not equal due to differences in the sizes of the immigrant communities within each site. 
Therefore, population weights were developed on the basis of the 1990 census to correct for 1) unequal sampling probabilities across sites; and 2) the higher ratio of entrepreneurs to non-entrepreneurs in the study due to the use of the snowball sampling techniques.  Consistent criteria based on screening questions  were used to identify entrepreneurs (respondents who indicated they were proprietors of firms or otherwise self-employed in response to questions about occupation and place of employment) and also to distinguish transnational entrepreneurs from entrepreneurs who operate domestically ('The success of my firm depends on regular contact with foreign countries' and 'The success of my firm depends on regular contact with [Colombia/Dominican Republic/El Salvador, according to respondent's country of origin]).  The unweighted sample numbers 1,202 for all sites while the weights project the unweighted sample to the population sizes of each immigrant group within its respective U.S. community.

Data Description

The published files include an explanatory statement of the study, a codebook, and data files in both SPSS and STATA format readily available for analysis.  Results from CIEP have been published in major sociology journals and in specialized journals in the field of immigration.  However, there is a great deal of additional information in these files that remains unanalyzed and that will be of interest to researchers in this field. 

Selected Publications

Portes, Alejandro and Josh DeWind. 2004. "A Cross-Atlantic Dialogue: The Progress of Research and Theory in the Study of International Migration." International Migration Review 38 (Fall): 828-851.

Guarnizo, Luis E., Alejandro Portes, and William J. Haller. 2003. "Assimilation and Transnationalism: Determinants of Transnational Political Action among Contemporary Immigrants." American Journal of Sociology 108 (May): 1211-48.

Portes, Alejandro. 2003. "Theoretical Convergencies and Empirical Evidence in the Study of Immigrant Transnationalism." International Migration Review 37 (Fall): 814-892.

Portes, Alejandro, Luis E. Guarnizo and William Haller. 2003. "Assimilation and Transnationalism: Determinants of Transnational Political Action among Contemporary Migrants." American Journal of Sociology 108 (May): 1211-1248.

Itzigsohn, Jose A. and Silvia G. Saucido. 2002. "Immigrant Incorporation and Sociocultural Transnationalism." International Migration Review 36 (Fall): 766-798.

Portes, Alejandro and Patricia Fernandez-Kelly. 2002. "Subversion and Compliance in Transnational Communities." Pp. 167-189 in S. Eckstein and T. Wickham-Crowley (eds.) Struggles for Social Rights in Latin America. New York: Routledge.

Portes, Alejandro, Luis E. Guarnizo, and William Haller. 2002. "Transnational Entrepreneurs: An Alternative Form of Immigrant Economic Adaptation." American Sociological Review (April): 278-298.

Landolt, Patricia. 2001. "Salvadoran Economic Transnationalism: Embedded Strategies for Household Maintenance, Immigrant Incorporation, and Entrepreneurial Expansion." Global Networks 1:217-42.

Portes, Alejandro. 2001. "The Debates and Significance of Immigrant Transnationalism." Global Networks S 1 (July): 181-193.

Guarnizo, Luis E. and Luz M. Diaz. 1999. "Transnational Migration: A View from Colombia." Ethnic and Racial Studies 22 (March): 397-421.

Guarnizo, Luis E., Arturo I. Sanchez, and Elizabeth Roach. 1999. "Mistrust, Fragmented Solidarity, and Transnational Migration: Colombians in New York and Los Angeles." Ethnic and Racial Studies 22 (March): 367-96.

Itzigsohn, Jose, Carlos Dore, Esther Fernandez, and Obed Vazquez. 1999. "Mapping Dominican Transnationalism: Narrow and Broad Transnational Practices." Ethnic and Racial Studies 22 (March): 316-339.

Landolt, Patricia, Lilian Autler, and Sonia Baires. 1999. "From 'Hermano Lejano' to 'Hermano Mayor': The Dialectics of Salvadoran Transnationalism." Ethnic and Racial Studies 22 (March): 290-315.

Portes, Alejandro, Luis E. Guarnizo, and Patricia Landolt (co-editors). 1999. TRANSNATIONAL COMMUNITIES. Special Issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 22 (March).