Slipping the surly bonds: The value of autonomy in self-employment
AbstractThis paper models the tradeoff between increased autonomy from self-employment and the generally higher income that traditional employment offers. While the demand for autonomy is a purely psychological construct, the economic tradeoffs involved in its achievement are eminently amenable to quantification and analytical modeling characteristic of economic analysis. We use this setup to offer a multifactor utility formulation formalizing the notion of an explicit, autonomy-based preference for self-employment. We propose such a formulation as a theoretically-defensible alternative to the classic (and also psychologically-based) overconfidence hypothesis in explaining why self-employment is chosen despite evidence that newly self-employed individuals earn less than comparable individuals who continue their current employment. Our model, founded on utility maximization by a rational individual, demonstrates not only that newly self-employed individuals are willing to accept lower earnings outcomes in exchange for psychic benefits from self-employment, but also that the structure of their optimal launch-timing decision guarantees that they will quit at a time such that their income will (at least initially) be reduced. We conclude with implications for the design of empirical instruments to quantify the relative importance of autonomy and income.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.
Volume (Year): 33 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep
Entrepreneurship; Autonomy; Utility; Mathematical modeling; Value; Freedom; Timing; Tradeoff; Self-employment; Quitting;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
- L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
- D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-48, August.
- Baldwin,John R. & Gorecki,Paul With contributions by-Name:Caves,Richard E. With contributions by-Name:Dunne,Tim With contributions by-Name:Haltiwanger,John, 1998.
"The Dynamics of Industrial Competition,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521633574, October.
- Philipp Köllinger & Maria Minniti & Christian Schade, 2005.
""I Think I Can, I Think I Can": Overconfidence and Entrepreneurial Behavior,"
Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin
501, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Koellinger, Philipp & Minniti, Maria & Schade, Christian, 2007. ""I think I can, I think I can": Overconfidence and entrepreneurial behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 502-527, August.
- Holmes, T.J. & Schmitz, J.A., 1988.
"A Theory Of Enterpreneurship And Its Application To The Study Of Business Transfers,"
8827, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Holmes, Thomas J & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1990. "A Theory of Entrepreneurship and Its Application to the Study of Business Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 265-94, April.
- Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988.
"Pattenrs Of Firm Entry And Exit In U.S. Manufacturing Industries,"
1-88-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
- Timothy Dunne & Mark J. Roberts & Larry Samuelson, 1988. "Patterns of Firm Entry and Exit in U.S. Manufacturing Industries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(4), pages 495-515, Winter.
- 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.
- Birley, Sue & Westhead, Paul, 1994. "A taxonomy of business start-up reasons and their impact on firm growth and size," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 7-31, January.
- 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.
- Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz, .
"Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy,"
IEW - Working Papers
135, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Matthias Benz & Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(298), pages 362-383, 05.
- 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.
- Simon Parker, 2000. "Saving to Overcome Borrowing Constraints: Implications for Small Business Entry and Exit," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 223-232, November.
- 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.
- Gatewood, Elizabeth J. & Shaver, Kelly G. & Gartner, William B., 1995. "A longitudinal study of cognitive factors influencing start-up behaviors and success at venture creation," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 371-391, September.
- Holmstrom, Bengt R. & Tirole, Jean, 1989. "The theory of the firm," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 61-133 Elsevier.
- Shane, Scott & Kolvereid, Lars & Westhead, Paul, 1991. "An exploratory examination of the reasons leading to new firm formation across country and gender," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 6(6), pages 431-446, November.
- Busenitz, Lowell W. & Barney, Jay B., 1997. "Differences between entrepreneurs and managers in large organizations: Biases and heuristics in strategic decision-making," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 9-30, January.
- 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.
- Carter, Nancy M. & Gartner, William B. & Shaver, Kelly G. & Gatewood, Elizabeth J., 2003. "The career reasons of nascent entrepreneurs," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 13-39, January.
- Benz, Matthias & Frey, Bruno S., 2008. "The value of doing what you like: Evidence from the self-employed in 23 countries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(3-4), pages 445-455, December.
- Masten, Scott E, 1988. "A Legal Basis for the Firm," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 181-98, Spring.
- Hyytinen, Ari & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2004. "Entrepreneurial Aspirations," Discussion Papers 890, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
- Teemu Kautonen & Simon Down & Maria Minniti, 2014. "Ageing and entrepreneurial preferences," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 579-594, March.
- Michael Wyrwich, 2013. "In the name of my parents: Entrepreneurship and the intergenerational transmission of values," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-031, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
- Simoes, Nadia & Moreira, Sandrina B. & Crespo, Nuno, 2013. "Individual Determinants of Self-Employment Entry – What Do We Really Know?," MPRA Paper 48403, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Cortés Aguilar Alexandra & Teresa Garcia-Muñoz & Ana I. Moro Egido, 2013. "Heterogeneous Self-employment and Subjective Well-Being. Evidence from Latin America," ThE Papers 13/05, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
- Lechmann, Daniel S. J., 2013. "Can working conditions explain the return-to-entrepreneurship puzzle?," Discussion Papers 86, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
- Aguilar, Alexandra Cortés & García Muñoz, Teresa M. & Moro-Egido, Ana I., 2013. "Heterogeneous self-employment and satisfaction in Latin America," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 44-61.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.