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The value of doing what you like: Evidence from the self-employed in 23 countries


  • Benz, Matthias
  • Frey, Bruno S.


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 mainly be attributed to the more interesting jobs and to the greater autonomy that self-employed persons enjoy. 'Doing what you like to do' seems to provide non-pecuniary benefits from work suggesting the existence of procedural utility: interesting work and autonomy are valued beyond material outcomes as good procedural work characteristics. The results hold for western European, North American and eastern European countries, but largely also for countries with a non-western cultural background.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:68:y:2008:i:3-4:p:445-455

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Bruno Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not Only What, but Also How Matters," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 160(3), pages 377-377, September.
    7. 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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    10. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
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