Immigration and Entrepreneurship: The Italian case

Silvio Villa

Student thesis: Master thesis


Immigration is a hot topic in today’s political debate in Italy as well as in all the western countries. However, people mobility is a natural phenomenon that always existed with different flows and dimensions. Considering this as an exogenous element, we should focus on how to handle the implications of this phenomenon, exploit the opportunities and limit the risks.
This work analyses the role of immigrants networks in generating and facilitating the entrepreneurship of immigrants, which represents an opportunity and a development factor for the native community too. It also analyses the effect of the local entrepreneurial landscape on the immigrant entrepreneurship.
The analysis is performed keeping into account the regional dimension in Italy and the country of birth of the foreign entrepreneurs with two sets of variables to control on the factors that characterise the two dimensions.
The results show that there is a noticeable gap in the entrepreneurial opportunity for immigrants compared to locals, already defined in literature as ”foreignness liability” and that the local communities play a significant role in reducing the negative impact of this disadvantage for the potential entrepreneurs. At the same time, it is described how the attractiveness for foreign entrepreneurs and the contribution of the immigrants networks are dependent from the local entrepreneurship conditions.
The analysis shows that there are significant differences in the effects among different regions and different countries of origin. The results apply directly to Italy and the specific regional distribution and characteristics, but extending the level of details to a lower level could bring beneficial results to the local authority regulation systems to put to good use the opportunities that are coming from the foreign immigration process.

EducationsMSc in Economics and Business Administration, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages58
SupervisorsFrancesco Di Lorenzo