Self-employment and attitudes towards risk: Timing and unobserved heterogeneity
We explore the relationship between self-employment and attitudes towards financial risk using individual level data drawn from the US Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), which includes measures of individuals' attitudes towards hypothetical gambles allowing us to explore the implications of interpersonal differences in risk attitudes for the probability of self-employment. Our empirical findings suggest that willingness to take financial risk is positively associated with self-employment. By exploiting the panel aspect of the PSID, we find evidence, whilst controlling for unobserved individual heterogeneity, consistent with a causal relationship between attitudes towards risk and self-employment with attitudes towards risk measured prior to becoming self-employed having a statistically significant positive influence on the probability of future self-employment.
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