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Life satisfaction and self-employment: A matching approach

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  • Martin Binder

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute of Economics)

  • Alex Coad

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics and SPRU, University of Sussex)

Abstract

Despite lower incomes, the self-employed consistently report higher satisfaction with their jobs. But are self-employed individuals also happier, more satisfied with their lives as a whole? High job satisfaction might cause them to neglect other important domains of life, such that the fulfilling job crowds out other pleasures, leaving the individual on the whole not happier than others. Moreover, self-employment is often chosen to escape unemployment, not for the associated autonomy that seems to account for the high job satisfaction. We apply matching estimators that allow us to better take into account the above-mentioned considerations and construct an appropriate control group. Using the BHPS data set that comprises a large nationally representative sample of the British populace, we find that individuals who move from regular employment into self-employment experience an increase in life satisfaction (up to two years later), while individuals moving from unemployment to self-employment are not more satisfied than their counterparts moving from unemployment to regular employment. We argue that these groups correspond to "opportunity" and "necessity" entrepreneurship, respectively. These findings are robust with regard to different measures of subjective well-being as well as choice of matching variables, and also robustness exercises involving "simulated confounders".

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex in its series SPRU Working Paper Series with number 194.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:194

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Keywords: self-employment; happiness; matching estimators; unemployment; BHPS; necessity entrepreneurship;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cortés Aguilar Alexandra & Teresa Garcia-Muñoz & Ana I. Moro Egido, 2013. "Heterogeneous Self-employment and Subjective Well-Being. Evidence from Latin America," ThE Papers, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada. 13/05, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  2. Martin Binder & Tom Broekel, 2012. "Happiness No Matter the Cost? An Examination on How Efficiently Individuals Reach Their Happiness Levels," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 621-645, August.
  3. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2012. ""I'm afraid I have bad news for you…" Estimating the impact of different health impairments on subjective well-being," SPRU Working Paper Series, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex 200, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  4. Pfeffer, Jeffrey & DeVoe, Sanford E., 2012. "The Economic Evaluation of Time Organizational Causes and Individual Consequences," Research Papers, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business 2123, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  5. Nicolai Suppa, 2012. "Job Characteristics and Subjective Well-Being in Australia – A Capability Approach Perspective," Ruhr Economic Papers, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen 0388, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  6. Martin Binder & Felix Ward, 2011. "The Structure of Happiness: A Vector Autoregressive Approach," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-08, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  7. Cornelius A. Rietveld & Jolanda Hessels & Peter van der Zwan, 2014. "The Stature of the Self-employed and its Premium," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-109/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Alex Coad & Martin Binder, 2014. "Causal Linkages between Work and Life Satisfaction and Their Determinants in a Structural VAR Approach," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_809, Levy Economics Institute.

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