Immigrant Contributions to American Economic Development

  • Steven G. Koven
  • Frank Götzke
Part of the Public Administration, Governance and Globalization book series (PAGG, volume 1)


Debate rages about the viability of current immigration policies in the United States. While America is known as a “nation of immigrants” we also know that at various times in the nation’s history the welcome mat to persons from other nations has been pulled. The nation’s doors have at times been wide open, yet at other times they were solidly closed. A question asked by natives is how well the “other” will fit with the American work ethic and the American ideal of economic success. Do immigrants contribute economically or do they drain the resources of others? Do immigrants enhance economic strength or do they hasten economic decline? Will immigrants bolster values that have promoted economic development or will they undermine them? Will immigrants embrace Protestant values in regard to work, self-sufficiency, education, saving, and risk taking? Central to Calvinist belief of the Massachusetts settlers were the beliefs that people should not lust after wealth or easy living, that reinvesting profits of one’s labor was acceptable, and that it is appropriate to seek occupations which provide the greatest earnings. According to Calvinism, success in one’s work is associated with being one of God’s “Elect” (Hill 1996).


Immigrant Group Chief Executive Officer Dominican Republic High School Diploma American Community Survey 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Urban Studies Institute, University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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