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Self-Employment in Germany: The Trend Has Been Increasing for Some Time


  • Michael Fritsch
  • Alexander S. Kritikos
  • Alina Rusakova


Entrepreneurial self-employment in Germany has undergone a strong upturn in the last 20 years. The number of self-employed people rose by 40 percent between 1991 and 2009. The reasons for this development are the catch-up processes in eastern Germany, structural change towards the service sector, and a strong willingness among the highly skilled, the unmarried and among foreigners to enter self-employment. Furthermore, the percentage of women becoming involved in start-ups increased substantially during the monitoring period. The decision to take up self-employment generally pays off: after three years, 38 percent of all entrepreneurs still being active in the market had a higher income, while only 17 percent had a lower income than in their former paid employment position.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Fritsch & Alexander S. Kritikos & Alina Rusakova, 2012. "Self-Employment in Germany: The Trend Has Been Increasing for Some Time," DIW Economic Bulletin, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 2(3), pages 17-26.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwdeb:2012-3-3

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9874-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Alina Sorgner & Michael Fritsch & Alexander Kritikos, 2017. "Do entrepreneurs really earn less?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 251-272, August.

    More about this item


    Entrepreneurship; self-employment; start-ups;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups


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