Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

The spirit of capitalism? Immigration, religion, and self-employment in early 20th century Canada*

Chris Minns and Marian Rizov


This paper examines self-employment in Canada at the beginning of the twentieth century. As in the late 20th century, self-employment one hundred years ago was associated with greater human capital, and negatively related to wages in the local district. We also find strong evidence of immigrant assimilation in selfemployment, and modest evidence of higher self-employment in enclaves with greater concentration of immigrants. An analysis of recent immigrants supports the hypothesis that liquidity constraints are a strong determinant of self-employment. While religion and individual human capital are highly correlated, we find that the direct effects of membership in different Christian denominations were small.

Keywords: self-employment; immigration; religion; Canada.

Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).