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Steven Gold - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Steven Gold

Professor | Michigan State University


An expert on immigrants and migration.






MSU Faculty Conversations: Steven Gold



Steven James Gold is a sociologist involved in research on ethnic economies, international migration, the development of ethnic communities, visual sociology, and qualitative methods. He has served as President of the International Visual Sociology Association (1987–1990) and Chair of the American Sociological Association Section on International Migration (2003–2004).

Industry Expertise (3)



Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (4)

Ethnic Entrepreneurs

Ethnic Economies


International Migration

Accomplishments (1)

Proposal “Israeli Immigrants’ Involvement in the High Technology Sector,” Selected for “New Immigrant Labor Market Niches”

Issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, Conference presentation and funding. 2016.

Education (2)

University of California: Ph.D., Sociology 1985

University of California: M.A, Sociology 1982

Affiliations (1)

  • Faculty Advisory Committee, 2017-2018

News (1)

What's holding black entrepreneurs back?

MSU Today  


“Immigrants – who benefit from skills, investment capital, family labor, imported goods and wage differentials brought from the country of origin -- have higher rates of self-employment than native-born minorities,” Gold said. “To a large extent, the most entrepreneurially successful immigrants from countries such as Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, China and Iran came from property-owning upper classes and entered the United States with human capital and money to invest. So it’s no surprise they’ve been successful in small business.” “Black Americans’ entrepreneurial experiences contrast dramatically with these groups,” Gold added. “Brought over as slaves, they continue to suffer from a wide array of disadvantages wrought by systematic racial oppression. As such, blacks generally lack the resources that the most entrepreneurially accomplished groups have used to achieve business success.”...

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Journal Articles (4)

Israeli Infotech Migrants in Silicon Valley


Steven J Gold

2018 Prior to the 1980s, Israel’s national ideology discouraged emigration and entrepreneurship among its citizens. Yet, by the late 1990s, Israeli emigrants were one of the leading immigrant nationalities in Silicon Valley. Drawing on interviews, fieldwork, a literature review, and perusal of social media, I explore the origins of Israeli involvement in high-tech activities and the extensive linkages between Israeli emigrants and the Israeli high-tech industry. I also summarize the patterns of communal cooperation that permit emigrant families to maintain an Israel-oriented way of life in suburban communities south of San Francisco, and I compare these patterns with those of Indians, a nationality engaged in the same pursuit. I conclude by considering the impact of infotech involvement on Israeli immigrants and on the U.S. economy.

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International Students in the United States


Steven J Gold

2016 This essay examines the experience of international students in American universities, providing basic data on their numbers and economic impact. Accompanying photographs document international students’ participation in Globalfest, an annual event that celebrates their enrollment at Michigan State University. ᅟ

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Ethnic Economies

The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism

Steven J Gold

2015 Ethnic economies exist in any situation where common ethnicity exerts a significant influence on economic relations. This includes the ethnic‐owned economy of the self‐employed, their unpaid family workers, and their coethnic employees, and also the ethnic‐controlled economy, wherein ethnic networks allocate jobs in non‐coethnic firms or the public sector. This entry reviews the workings of ethnic economies among various populations, the resources immigrant and ethnic groups use to build small businesses that provide jobs and earnings, the impact of ethnic economies on social mobility, and ethnic economies' consequences for group members, communities, and the larger society.

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Panethnic mobilisation among Arab Americans in Detroit during the post-9/11 era: a photo-elicitation study

Journal of Visual Studies

Steven J. Gold

2015 This article uses photo-elicitation interviews to explore Arab Americans’ reactions to a collection of photographs documenting ethnic community events in Detroit. Its goal is to gain insight into processes of identity construction that have occurred since 11 September 2001. Drawing on fieldwork and a review of journalistic and scholarly literature, the article examines connections to panethnic identity in respondents’ views of local geography, communal diversity, simultaneous involvement in United States and Arab culture, and understandings of racism.

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