Occupational patterns and entrepreneurship of the Chinese in Thailand, Indonesia and Canada before the Second World War
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This dissertation attempts to explain the different occupational patterns and business entrepreneurship among the Chinese in Thailand, Indonesia and Canada before the Second World War. Evidence presented in this study indicates that in spite of a similar concentration in private business, Chinese in different countries were engaged in different types of business and achieved different levels of success. Contemporary literature offers two major types of explanation to the phenomena of ethnic employment and self-employment. The transplanted cultural thesis argues that traditional values which are brought to the host society by immigrants or an ethnic group play an important role in the formulation of this group's occupational patterns and entrepreneurship. The blocked mobility thesis, in contrast, contends that racial discrimination restricts the access of ethnic minorities to the mainstream labour market, which in turn forces them into certain types of business or occupation. This study shows that traditional Chinese culture cannot account for the persisting concentration of the Chinese in commerce in Thailand and Indonesia since the fourteenth century. On the other hand, while the blocked mobility thesis is useful in understanding the concentration of the Chinese in food and personal service businesses, this study finds no evidence to suggest that racial discrimination prevented the Chinese in Thailand and Indonesia from entering certain sectors of the economy. Therefore, this dissertation argues that historical and structural factors, such as the patterns of immigration, the occupational backgrounds of Chinese immigrants, and the economic system and social stratification of the host countries, affected the occupational patterns and entrepreneurship of the Chinese in the three countries before WWII.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeLi, Peter S.
Copyright DateApril 2000