This paper examines whether and how return migrants may be more likely
to be entrepreneurs. With reference to Lazear's Jack-of-all-trades
hypothesis, we posit that return migrants may be more likely to choose
self-employment as a result of the diverse work experience they gain as
migrants. Using the 2012 Egyptian Labour Market Panel Survey, seemingly
unrelated regression model estimates show that return migration
increases the propensity to be self-employed, controlling for the
possession of savings. This is found to be due to a Jack-of-all-trades
effect, whereby migration helps accumulating more occupations and jobs.
Sector-specific rather than multi-sector experience may also benefit
entrepreneurship, as it was found that the more industries an emigrant
worked in, the less the probability of self-employment upon return.
Self-employed might thus need a generalist, balanced mix of occupational
skills, within a relatively narrow set of industries. These findings
hold for non-agricultural activities.
JEL Classification: F22, J24, L26, O12, O15
Keywords: International migration, Return migration, Entrepreneurship, Human capital, North Africa, Egypt