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Entrepreneurship versus joblessness: Explaining the rise in self-employment

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  • Falco, Paolo
  • Haywood, Luke

Abstract

A large share of the workforce throughout the developing world is self-employed, and this proportion has increased in recent decades. Assessments of this development vary, with pull factors such as high returns to capital contrasted with push factors such as barriers to more desirable salaried jobs. Using a long panel dataset from Ghana, we empirically investigate the changing structure of earnings in self-employment relative to salaried work. Our analysis allows workers to sort into self-employment for different reasons, including expected earnings differentials and endogenous capital accumulation whilst highlighting constraints that workers may face. We estimate a correlated random coefficient model using IV-GMM, taking into account the endogeneity of sector choice and capital accumulation. We find that returns to productive characteristics in self-employment have increased significantly between 2004 and 2011 whilst self-employment has attracted increasingly skilled workers. This points against the negative view of self-employment as an occupation of last resort.

Suggested Citation

  • Falco, Paolo & Haywood, Luke, 2016. "Entrepreneurship versus joblessness: Explaining the rise in self-employment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 245-265.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:118:y:2016:i:c:p:245-265
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2015.07.010
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Prodyumna Goutam & Italo A. Gutierrez & Krishna B. Kumar & Shanthi Nataraj, 2017. "Does Informal Employment Respond to Growth Opportunities? Trade-Based Evidence from Bangladesh," Working Papers WR-1198, RAND Corporation.
    2. Tenzin Yindok & Alexander Karaivanov, 2016. "Involuntary Entrepreneurship - Evidence from Thai Urban Data," 2016 Meeting Papers 598, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Girum Abebe & Stefano Caria & Marcel Fafchamps & Paolo Falco & Simon Franklin & Simon Quinn, 2016. "Curse of Anonymity or Tyranny of Distance? The Impacts of Job-Search Support in Urban Ethiopia," NBER Working Papers 22409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hershey, D.A. & van Dalen, Harry & Conen, Wieteke & Henkens, Kene, 2017. "Are “voluntary” self-employed better prepared for retirement than “forced” self-employed?," Other publications TiSEM 039ee146-e32b-444a-a5c6-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Yoonyoung Cho & David Robalino & Samantha Watson, 2016. "Supporting self-employment and small-scale entrepreneurship: potential programs to improve livelihoods for vulnerable workers," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-26, December.
    6. Prodyumna Goutam & Italo A. Gutierrez & Krishna B. Kumar & Shanthi Nataraj, 2017. "Does Informal Employment Respond to Growth Opportunities? Trade-Based Evidence from Bangladesh," Working Papers 1198, RAND Corporation.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-employment; African labour markets; Semiparametric models; Comparative advantage; Segmentation;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General

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