Ivan Light

Ivan Light

Professor Emeritus

Office: A83 Haines Hall

Email: light@soc.ucla.edu

Curriculum Vitae

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Ivan Light is professor of sociology emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles.

He is the author of numerous articles and of six books on immigration, entrepreneurs, and urban sociology. His earliest book is Ethnic Enterprise in America (University of California, 1972). The next book,Cities in World Perspective (Macmillan, 1983) is a comparative and historical treatment of urban societies around the world. His next two books were Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Koreans in Los Angeles (University of California, 1988; in collaboration with Edna Bonacich), and Immigration and Entrepreneurship (Transactions Publishers, 1993; in collaboration with Parminder Bhachu). There followed Race, Ethnicity and Entrepreneurship in Urban America (Aldine de Gruyter, 1995; in collaboration with Carolyn Rosenstein). Co-edited with Richard Isralowitz, is Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Immigrant Absorption in the United States and Israel (Avebury, 1997) brings together articles that compare Israel and the USA as immigrant-reception societies. In collaboration with Steven Gold, he published Ethnic Economies (Academic, 2000), which integrates the voluminous international literature on that topic. Extending migration network theory,  he explained how saturation changed its trajectory. Deflecting Immigration: Networks, Markets, and Regulation in Los Angeles (Russell Sage, 2006) addresses local and state processes that deflected migratory influx from Los Angeles and  California to southern and western states. Entrepreneurs and Capitalism Since Weber: Rediscovering the Moral Economy (Lexington, 2020) updates Max Weber’s Protestant ethic thesis, reclothing it in the forms of capital lexicon. A series of case studies then brings the analysis around the world and back to Donald Trump’s business career.


Ph. D., University of California, Berkeley


“Trump’s charisma.” Critical Sociology, first published online, 23 April 2022.  https://doi.org/10.1177/08969205221087425 (doi: 10.1177/08969205221087425) 

“Exiting poverty through self-employment: The Grameen model and rotating credit associations as alternative strategies.” Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, June 2021 https://doi.org/10.1142/S1084946721500126 

Entrepreneurs and Capitalism Since Luther: Rediscovering the Moral Economy. Lanham MD: Lexington, 2020 (with Léo-Paul Dana). 

  Reviewed Social Forces: https://academic.oup.com/sf/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/sf/soab015/6145132  

“Forms of capital and the moral legitimation of capitalism.” Economic Sociology and Political Economy 20 Sept. 2020.   

 “Family, community, and ethnic capital as entrepreneurial resources: Toward an integrated model.”  Journal of Small Business Management, 2019, DOI: 10.1111/jsbm.12507 (with Léo-Paul Dana, Calin Gurau, and Nabeel Muhammad) 

“Overcoming the liability of foreignness: A typology and model of immigrant entrepreneurs.”  European Management Review 2020 

17 pp. 701-717 2020 DOI: 10.1111/cmre.12392 (with Calin Gurau and Léo-Paul Dana  

“An Undercapitalised Billionaire.” International Journal of Business and Globalization 29 (2), 275-290.  DOI: 10.1504/IJBG/2021.10041912 

“Two Forms of Community Entrepreneurship in Finland: Are there Differences between Finnish and Sámi Reindeer Husbandry Entrepreneurs?” Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 23 (2011): 331-352. (with Léo-Paul Dana)

“Deflecting Immigration from Los Angeles: Solving Urban Problems by Sending Them Elsewhere.” In Problemas Sociales Urbanos: La Ciudad en el Mundo Actual, edited by Enrique del Acebo Ibáñez and Helgi GunnlaugssonBuenos Aires: Editorial Claridad, 2011. (Translated into Spanish).

“Federal/State Cost Sharing of Immigrant Welfare.” CaliforniaJournal of Politics and Policy (2010): vol. 2, no. 1, Article 19. Available: http://www.bepress.com/cjpp/vol2/iss1/19

“Foreword.” Pp. ix – xvi in Transnational and Immigrant Entrepreneurship in a Globalized World, edited by Benson Honig, Israel Drori, and Barbara Carmichael. Toronto: University of Toronto, 2010.

“Transnational Entrepreneurs in an English-Speaking World.” Die Erde 141 nos. 1-2 (2010): 1 – 16.

“The Religious Ethic of the Protestant Ethnics.” Pps. 168 – 183 in Religion and Entrepreneurship, edited by Leo-Paul Dana. Chelternham UK: Edward Elgar, 2010

“Metropolitan Dispersion of Mexican Immigrants in the United States, 1980 to 2000.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies  35 (January, 2009): 1- 13 (with Michael Francis Johnston)

“The Geographic Expansion of Mexican Immigration in the United States and its Implications for Local Law Enforcement.” Law Enforcement Executive Forum 8 no. 1 (2008): 73 – 83 (with Matthew A. Light)

“Coming Soon to Your Community: Why Mexican Immigrants Now Seek the American Heartland.” Applied Research in Economic Development 5 (May, 2008): 15-22.

“Global Entrepreneurship and Transnationalism.” Pp. 3 – 15 in Handbook of Research on Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship, edited by Leo-Paul Dana. Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar, 2007

Ivan Light and Elsa von Scheven, “Mexican Migration Networks in the United States, 1980 – 2000.” International Migration Review 42, no. 3 (Fall, 2008): 704-728. http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/Light/MexMigNetworks.pdf

“The Informal Economy Buffer, Migration Chains, and Poverty Intolerance.” City and Community 6:3 (September, 2007): 245-248.

“Defending Deflection.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 30 no. 6 (November, 2007): 1162-1166

“Women’s Economic Niches and Earnings Inferiority: The View from the Ethnic Economy.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 33 (May, 2007): 541-557.

“Globalization, Transnationalism, and Chinese Transnationalism.” Pp. 89-98 in Chinese Ethnic Business: Global and Local Perspectives, edited by Eric Fong and Chiu Luk. London: Routledge, 2007.

Deflecting Migration: Networks, Markets and Regulation in Los Angeles. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006.

o “Symposium on Deflecting Immigration . . . by Ivan Light.” City and Community 6 (September, 2007): 237 – 248

o “Review Symposium” Ethnic and Racial Studies 30 (Nov. 2007): 1152-1166

“Immigration and Ethnic Economies in Giant Cities.” International Social Science Journal 181(2004): 385-398

Translated into French: “Immigration et Économie Ethnique dans les Villes Géants.” Revue Internationale des Sciences Sociales 181 (2004) 431-446

Ivan Light, Min Zhou, and Rebecca Kim. “Transnationalism and American Exports in an English-Speaking World.” International Migration Review 36 (2002): 702-725

“Immigrant place entrepreneurs in Los Angeles, 1970-1999.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 26 (2002): 215-228.

“Globalizacion, cadenas de vacantes o redes de migracion?” Pp. 113-140 in La Globalizacion y sus Manifestaciones en America del Norte, edited by M. Gambrill. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autonoma, 2002.

Ivan Light and Victoria Ojeda. “Los Angeles: Wearing Out Their Welcome.” Pp. 151-168 in Unravelling the Rag Trade, edited by J. Rath. Oxford: Berg, 2002.

“The Chicago School and the Ethnic Economy.” Pp. 173-182 in Mirrors and Windows, edited by J. Mucha, D. Kessler, and W. Winclawski. Torun: Copernicus University

Ivan Light, Richard Bernard, and Rebecca Kim. “The Immigrant Economy in the Garment Industry of Los Angeles.” International Migration Review 33 (1999): 5-25

“Social Capital’s Unique Accessibility,” Journal of the American Planning Association, special section on social capital, edited by Judy Hutchinson. 2003.

“Social Capital for What?” In Community-Based Organizations in Contemporary Urban Society, edited by Robert Silverman. Detroit: Wayne State University, forthcoming 2003.

“The Ethnic Ownership Economy.” Pp. 3-44 in Ethnic Entrepreneurship: Structure and Process, edited by Curt H. Stiles, and Craig S. Galbraith. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2003.

“Immigrant Neighborhoods as Centers of Commerce.” Pp. 112-128 in Immigrant Workers and Entrepreneurs, vol. 2, edited by Jim Lewis. Illinois: Illinois Department of Human Services, 2003.

“Social Sources of Iranian Immigrant Entrepreneurship.” Realidad: Revista del Cono Sur de Psicologia Social y Politica 1 (2001): 129-144

Ivan Light, “The Ethnic Economy.” Ch. 16 in Handbook of Economic Sociology, 2nd edition, edited by Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2004.

o Translated into Spanish: “Economias Étnicas.” Pp. 41-68 in Empresariado Étnico en Espaòa, ed. Joaquín Beltran, Laura Oso, and Natalia Ribas. Madrid: Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales y Fundació CIDOB, 2007.

Ivan Light and Elizabeth Roach, “Self-Employment in Southern California, 1970 to 1990.” In Ethnic Los Angeles, edited by Roger Waldinger and Mehdi Bozorgmehr. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1996.

“Nationalism and Anti-Immigrant Movements.” Society 33(2), 1996: 58-63.

Ivan Light and Stavros Karageorgis. “The Ethnic Economy.” Ch. 26 in Handbook of Economic Sociology, edited by Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg. NY: Russell Sage Foundation, 1994.

Ivan Light and Steven Gold. Ethnic Economies. San Diego: Academic Press, 2000http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/Light/Ethniceconomies.pdf

“The Ethnic Vice District, 1880-1944.” American Sociological Review 42 (1977):464-479.http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/Light/EthnicViceIndustry.pdf

Black/Korean conflict in Los Angeles

Self-Employment: Mobility Ladder or Economic Lifeboat ?

Minimum Wage & Mex Influx

Boundaries of Social Capital in Entrepreneurship

Immigrant and Ethnic Enterprise in North America

Disadvantaged Minorities in Self-Employment

Social Capital’s Unique Accessibility

Ethnic Enterprise in America

The Migration Industry in the United States, 1880-1924

Women’s Economic Niches: The View from the Ethnic Economy

Iranian immigrants in import.export industry of Los Angeles

Awards & Grants


“Thomas and Znaniecki Book Prize,” for Deflecting Immigration from International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association

“Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship” Award of the Pacific Sociological Association

Fellow, Hansewissenschaftskolleg, Bremen Germany

President of the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association, 2001-02.

“Distinguished Career” Award of the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association, August

1995 – 1997
Immigration Research Awards from Center for German and European Studies at the University of California at Berkeley

1995 – 1998
Member of Council, International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association

Consulting Editor: International Migration Review, 1994 to 1996; Social Forces, 1990 to 1993; American Journal of Sociology 1983 to 1985, 1996 to 1998; Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 1997 to 2002; Ethnic and Racial Studies 2001 to 2003


Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, $11,600 research grant for “State Minimum Wages And Immigrant Deflection.” 2008-2009

Israel/USA Binational Science Foundation Research Award, 1992 to 1995 (with Dr. Eran Razin, Hebrew University)

Principal Investigator on three separate research awards from the Sociology Division of the National Science Foundation: 1975 to 1978, 1985 to 1986, 1987 to 1989

Graduate Students

Jock Collins. 1998. “Cosmopolitan Capitalism: Ethnicity, Gender and Australian Entrepreneurs.” vols 1 and 2, PhD diss., University of Wollongong.

Nonja Peters. 1999. “Trading Places: Greek, Italian, Dutch and Vietnamese Immigrants in Western Australia.” Ph.D. diss. University of Western Australia.

Frances Chik. 2000 “Hong Kong Chinese Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs in Richmond, British Columbia: The Intersection of Race, Ethnicity, Class, Gender and Migration.” Sociology, Ph.D. diss., University of British Columbia

Geck Bee Yeo. 2003. “Embedded Intersections of Immigrant Female Entrepreneurship: A Study of Asian-Born Women Entrepreneurs in Sydney.” University of Technology, Sydney

Elizabeth Roach, 2006. “Colombian Immigrants in New York City and Los Angeles.” University of California, Los Angeles [Chair]

Andrea Ryan. 2007. “Not My Brother’s Keeper: Ethnic Individualism, Civic Capitalism, and the Reinvention of Community in an Old Mill City.” Department of Sociology, Boston University