Dr. John Lunn of the economics faculty at Hope College has received an award through the Fulbright Senior Scholar Program for his study of self-employment in Europe.
The award will support Lunn as he conducts
research and teaches at the University of Goettingen in
Germany from January through July of 1999, during a
sabbatical leave from the college. He is one of
approximately 700 scholars from the U.S. to receive one of
the awards for the 1998-99 school year.
Lunn's project has two objectives: to calculate
and explain the pattern of self-employment rates across
industries and countries in the European Union, and to
determine the extent to which minorities and immigrants are
self-employed. He subsequently hopes to relate the data to
similar studies that have been conducted within the United
"Hopefully, the European experience can shed light
on the American experience with respect to the pattern of
self-employment, and vice versa," said Lunn, who is the
Robert W. Haack Professor of Economics at Hope.
According to Lunn, immigrants in the U.S. tend to
be self-employed more than native-born residents, while
members of minority groups tend to be self-employed at rates
below the national average. He noted that there are also
differences among ethnic groups. Among Americans of
European descent, for example, Russian- and Greek-Americans
are self-employed at rates more than double of Belgian- or
"If the pattern of self-employment across European
countries is similar to the pattern of European-Americans,
then factors such as culture, and the intergenerational
transmission of human capital would be important sources of
these differences," he said. "If there are substantial
differences between the American and European experiences,
then other factors, possibly including discrimination, may
be at work in the United States?"
"Similarly, do immigrants in Europe opt for self-
employment at higher rates than native-born residents, as is
the case in the United States?," he said.
The Fulbright Program awards grants to American
students, teachers and scholars to study, teach, lecture and
conduct research abroad, and to foreign nationals to engage
in similar activities in the United States. The program was
established in 1946 under Congressional legislation
introduced by former Senator J. William Fulbright of
Lunn chose Goettingen because of its central
location. It is approximately midway between Bonn and
Berlin, the former and new capitals of Germany, and also
relatively near Brussels, Belgium, which is the headquarters
of the European Union.
Lunn has been a member of the Hope faculty since
1992. His specializations within economics are
discrimination and industrial organization. In 1995, he
provided expert testimony before a U.S. House of
Representatives subcommittee examining the issue of race and
gender preference programs.
Each year, the American Scholar Program through
which Lunn received his award sends nearly 700 scholars and
professionals to more than 100 countries. The scholars
represent a wide variety of academic and professional
fields, ranging from journalism and urban planning, to
music, philosophy and zoology.