Local space and economic success: The role of spatial segregation of migrants in the Netherlands

Pascal Beckers, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance

In this dissertation, Beckers explores whether and how the spatial location of non-Western immigrants in the Netherlands matters for their economic success in the labour market and in self-employment. More specifically, Beckers aims to find out how the local spatial environment in the place of residence, or place of firm location (for the self-employed), shapes immigrant economic prospects. This aim is reached by combining a number of thematic, complementary research projects. These projects assess the socio-economic position of non-Western immigrants in the country, analyse neighbourhood segregation effects on labour market outcomes, and examine spatial location effects on migrant business performance. To answer the research question, Beckers combines quantitative and qualitative methods. Where possible, available data from the Netherlands Bureau of Statistics, the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) and the Chambers of Commerce is used. To broaden the insight gained through these quantitative analyses, Beckers also collects qualitative data in eight focus group discussions with experts and forty interviews with entrepreneurs. Moreover, local spatial regulations in five urban residential neighbourhoods are studied.

The overall conclusion of the dissertation is clear: Space matters for immigrant economic success both in the labour market and in self-employment. Location is an important determinant of economic success of non-Western immigrants in the Netherlands as regions, municipalities and neighbourhoods within municipalities offer different labour market and self-employment opportunities to migrants. The findings of this dissertation can be grouped into four themes: First, implications of regional and urban differences for the economic success of immigrants; second, the relevancy of the local social environment for the economic success of immigrants; third, implications of the local built environment and its regulations for the economic success of immigrants; and forth, other (non-geographic) factors that influence economic success of immigrants.

Venue: Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht

Date: 19 January 2011

Time: 12:00 - 13:30