Doing it better: economic performance and social mobility of migrant entrepreneurs in Rome and Milan restaurant sector

Gnarini, Daniela (2019) Doing it better: economic performance and social mobility of migrant entrepreneurs in Rome and Milan restaurant sector. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

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This dissertation investigates the differentiation of migrants’ entrepreneurial performances in the restaurant sector. By adopting a biographical approach, this study analyses five main dimensions and their combinations in shaping performances: the context in which migrant entrepreneurs operate, the different businesses’ characteristics and strategies, migrants’ reliance on networks, their implementation of human capital, the individuals’ life trajectories, their classes of origin, and paths of upward (and eventually downward) social mobility. This study is based on 50 biographical interviews conducted in the two most important cities in Italy: Milan and Rome. In order to better understand the differentiation of performances, the sample includes entrepreneurs who reach good performances, those who manage to survive, and those who are in crisis. The findings evidence the intersection between networks, human capital, motivation, projects, and experiences of migrant entrepreneurs. These elements implement themselves, by creating a virtuous cycle, as far as successful cases are concerned. However, when these elements do not foster each other, migrant entrepreneurs tend to face many difficulties in conducting their businesses. This study also emphasises how economic performance and social mobility are not always interrelated, and some counterintuitive results emerge. On the one hand, it is underlined the importance of shelter enterprises, that do not have good business performances but can play a relevant social role in fostering upward social mobility for those entrepreneurs who come from lower classes of origin. On the other hand, good business performances are not always connected to the entrepreneurs’ upward mobility, which is often barely maintained and, in some cases, even declined.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Sociology and Social Research (within the School in Social Sciences, till the a.y. 2010-11)
PhD Cycle:30
Subjects:Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali > SPS/10 SOCIOLOGIA DELL'AMBIENTE E DEL TERRITORIO
Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali > SPS/09 SOCIOLOGIA DEI PROCESSI ECONOMICI E DEL LAVORO
Repository Staff approval on:24 Sep 2019 11:41

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