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The Value of Autonomy: Evidence from the Self-Employed in 23 Countries

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  • Matthias Benz
  • Bruno S. Frey

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 directly be attributed to the greater autonomy that self-employed persons enjoy. "Being your own boss" seems to provide non-pecuniary benefits from work that point to the existence of procedural utility: autonomy is valued beyond outcomes as a good decision-making procedure. The results hold not only for Western European, North American and former communist Eastern European countries, but largely also for countries with a non-western cultural background.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 173.

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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:173

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Keywords: self-employment; autonomy; job satisfaction; procedural utility;

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, . "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not only What, but also How Matters," IEW - Working Papers 129, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Blanchflower, David G., 2000. "Self-employment in OECD countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 471-505, September.
  7. Finnie, Ross Laporte, Christine Rivard, Maud-Catherine, 2002. "Setting up Shop: Self-employment Amongst Canadian College and University Graduates," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2002183e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Happiness policy
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-11-15 17:02:09
  2. Happiness & productivity
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-01-19 15:11:40
  3. Happiness, democracy & health
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-06-03 13:41:49
  4. Consumption deskilling & utility
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-03-01 14:36:46
  5. Happiness, & statistical fetishism
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-10-31 13:27:56
  6. Why celebrate entrepreneurship?
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-11-07 14:04:03

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