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National Research University Higher School of EconomicsStudent ThesesImmigrants and Small Business in Retail in Saint-Petersburg

Student
Title
Supervisor
Faculty
Educational Programme
Final Grade
Year of Graduation
Alexandra Koptyaeva
Immigrants and Small Business in Retail in Saint-Petersburg
Sociology
(Bachelor’s programme)
10
2016
The migration of ethnic minorities in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 has made ethnic enterprise a topic of active discussions. St. Petersburg is one of the cities that attract migrants as a mostly desired place. Trade in a big city provides the broad opportunities for immigrant minorities to find the workplaces, in which ethnic minorities can find the workplaces or realize themselves as individual entrepreneurs. Many studies show that some ethnic groups have “the special endowment”, which allows them to work as entrepreneurs in the hostile society, whereas members of other groups will much more often end up in the role of employees. In this paper, we explore immigrant entrepreneurship and small businesses in St. Petersburg. We focus on main ethnic groups and their socio-demographic characteristics (including age, place of birth, education level etc.) to test the hypothesis about “endowments”. Additionally, all these characteristics are compared with the place where the shop is in the city, to see whether there is geographical segregation of these groups in the St. Petersburg or not. This work is part of research on immigration carried out in 2013-2015 by the Laboratory of Sociology in Education and Science, which is one of the scientific laboratories in the NRU HSE. Using comparative analysis of 2013 and 2015 data, the changes in retail sphere in case of migration factor will be shown. For instance, during two-year period the core ethnic groups that worked as employees have changed, whereas the nationality of the shop-owner remained the same.

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