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The value of doing what you like: Evidence from the self-employed in 23 countries

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  • Benz, Matthias
  • Frey, Bruno S.

Abstract

The self-employed are substantially more satisfied with their work than employed persons. We document this relationship for 23 countries and show that the higher job satisfaction can mainly be attributed to the more interesting jobs and to the greater autonomy that self-employed persons enjoy. 'Doing what you like to do' seems to provide non-pecuniary benefits from work suggesting the existence of procedural utility: interesting work and autonomy are valued beyond material outcomes as good procedural work characteristics. The results hold for western European, North American and eastern European countries, but largely also for countries with a non-western cultural background.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 68 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (December)
Pages: 445-455

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:68:y:2008:i:3-4:p:445-455

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

Related research

Keywords: Self-employment Job satisfaction Autonomy Self-determination Procedural utility;

References

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  1. Bruno Frey & Matthias Benz, 2003. "Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy," CESifo Working Paper Series 959, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2003. "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not only What, but also How Matters," CREMA Working Paper Series 2003-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  4. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  5. Blanchflower, David G., 2000. "Self-employment in OECD countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 471-505, September.
  6. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1998. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 26-60, January.
  7. Barton H. Hamilton, 2000. "Does Entrepreneurship Pay? An Empirical Analysis of the Returns to Self-Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 604-631, June.
  8. Mihir Desai & Paul Gompers & Josh Lerner, 2003. "Institutions, Capital Constraints and Entrepreneurial Firm Dynamics: Evidence from Europe," NBER Working Papers 10165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mirjam van Praag & Gerrit de Wit & Niels Bosma, 2003. "Initial Capital Constraints hinder Entrepreneurial Venture Performance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-047/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 19 Nov 2004.
  10. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1999. "Informal Authority in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 56-73, April.
  11. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 8876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew & Stutzer, Alois, 2001. "Latent entrepreneurship across nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 680-691, May.
  14. David G. Blanchflower, 2004. "Self-Employment: More may not be better," NBER Working Papers 10286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Daiji Kawaguchi, 2002. "Compensating Wage Differentials among Self-Employed Workers:Evidence from Job Satisfaction Scores," ISER Discussion Paper 0568, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  16. repec:lan:wpaper:1084 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 745-778, September.
  18. Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1996. "Self-Employment and Windfall Gains: Evidence from the Swedish Lottery," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(439), pages 1515-26, November.
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