Inderscience Publishers

The impact of ethnic-religious identification on buyer-seller behaviour: a study of two enclaves

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This study examines the behaviour of buyers and sellers in two ethnic enclaves, Catholic Hispanics and Muslim Arabs, within a US metropolitan area. Based upon a sample of 42 small ethnic businesses, a rudimentary activity matrix is constructed for each enclave to reveal the purchases of materials, services, and labour and the sales of finished and semi-finished goods and services. Results suggest that ethnic firms are dependent on co-ethnic business in their enclave, tend to rely more upon the ethnic enclave for labour inputs than for other resources, and that start-up firms rely more on intra-enclave economic exchange than do more mature ethnic firms. The perceived advantage of intra-enclave buying and selling is argued to lie in a sense of ethnic identification that comes primarily from a religion, either Catholic or Muslim, common to each enclave. The dependence on religious organisations for services by new ventures is seen to lessen as the venture matures.

Keywords: ethnic enclaves, religion, entrepreneurship, Catholic Hispanics, Muslim Arabs, USA, Untied States, buyer-seller behaviour, ethnic firms, intra-enclave business, ethnic identification, start-ups, globalisation, new ventures

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