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On preferences for being self-employed

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  • Fuchs-Schündeln, Nicola

Abstract

The concept of procedural utility assumes that agents not only receive utility from outcomes but also attach an independent value to the procedures that lead to these outcomes. This paper analyzes whether the preferences that underlie procedural utility are homogeneous using the case of independence at the workplace. I exploit the event of German reunification to assign preferences for independence to respondents without using data on occupational choice or directly reported procedural preferences. I find that the self-employed report higher job satisfaction than the employed, even after controlling for income and hours worked. However, there is a significant amount of heterogeneity in this effect: while "independent types" experience a large increase in job satisfaction from being self-employed, the most "hierarchical types" could even experience a decrease.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 71 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 162-171

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:71:y:2009:i:2:p:162-171

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Keywords: Heterogeneous preferences Procedural utility Job satisfaction Workplace conditions;

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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. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520, 07.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," Working papers 2008/01, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  4. Andrew Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2003. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," DELTA Working Papers 2003-14, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  5. Yew-Kwang, Ng, 1997. "A case for Happiness, Cardinalism, and Interpersonal Comparability," Departmental Working Papers _081, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
  6. Ernst Fehr, 2003. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," Microeconomics 0305010, EconWPA.
  7. 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).
  8. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
  9. 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.
  10. Fuchs-Schundeln, Nicola & Alesina, Alberto, 2007. "Good-Bye Lenin (Or Not?): The Effect of Communism on People's Preferences," Scholarly Articles 4553032, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
  12. 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.
  13. Parker,Simon C., 2004. "The Economics of Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521828130, April.
  14. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
  15. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
  16. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew & Stutzer, Alois, 2001. "Latent entrepreneurship across nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 680-691, May.
  17. János Kornai, 2006. "The great transformation of central and eastern Europe: success and disappointment," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2006(4), pages 435-466.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Frank M. Fossen, 2012. "Risk Attitudes and Private Business Equity," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1209, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Stefan Schneck, 2012. "Revisiting Procedural Utility: Evidence from European Survey Data," EconStor Preprints 57929, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
  3. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2013. "Life satisfaction and self-employment: a matching approach," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 1009-1033, May.
  4. Kuehn, Zoe, 2012. "Migration, Wages, and Parental Background: Obstacles to Entrepreneurship and Growth in East Germany," MPRA Paper 49250, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Wim Naudé & José Ernesto Amorós & Oscar Cristi, 2011. "‘Surfeiting, The Appetite May Sicken’: Entrepreneurship and the Happiness of Nations," Working Papers 2011/07, Maastricht School of Management.
  6. Uwe Jirjahn & Jens Mohrenweiser, 2013. "Active Owners and the Failure of Newly Adopted Works Councils," Research Papers in Economics 2013-04, University of Trier, Department of Economics.

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