Self-Employment for Low-Income People

Self-Employment for Low-Income People

Self-Employment for Low-Income People

Self-Employment for Low-Income People

Synopsis

Balkin examines whether low-income people should be encouraged to engage in self-employment as a route for economic improvement. The author has gathered ideas and material from a diverse literature and experience base to provide practical suggestions for those who operate self-employment programs, fund self-employment programs, consider policy concerning self-employment, and look for alternative strategies to alleviate poverty, create jobs, and improve economic development. Balkin explores the reasons self-employment is a significant and successful alternative in some ethnic groups but has not been in others, why it is successful in those groups, and whether and how it could become a viable option.

Excerpt

This book is essentially a literature review and policy essay that tries to gather diverse literature from various disciplines to provide practical suggestions. I have tried to be a sponge, soaking up information wherever it was and reporting on it keeping jargon to a minimum. I hope I have not misinterpreted the literature from the wide variety of fields covered. There were many avenues I wanted to explore or explore further, but time and space did not permit. There is much work to be done in this relatively unexplored field. I would like to see cross- disciplinary micro-enterprise or self-employment studies programs emerge at universities to encourage the exploration of this fascinating policy-important, but undeveloped field. There is a need for collaboration among academics, entrepreneurs, helping professionals, and low-income people.

This book is directed, in particular, to those who operate self- employment programs, fund self-employment programs, consider policy about self-employment, and look for alternative strategies to alleviate poverty, create jobs, and improve economic development. While I do make policy and program design recommendations, they should be taken as just one view. A main theme of this book is that the literature and views that can be brought to bear on this topic are diverse. There are good ideas and programs out there but no conclusive proof of what model works or works best. So, I hope this book will widen horizons and encourage experimentation. I hope that readers will contact me to suggest overlooked programs, submit rigorous program evaluation results, and provide different points of view.

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