Slipping the surly bonds: The value of autonomy in self-employment
This paper models the tradeoff between increased autonomy from self-employment and the generally higher income that traditional employment offers. While the demand for autonomy is a purely psychological construct, the economic tradeoffs involved in its achievement are eminently amenable to quantification and analytical modeling characteristic of economic analysis. We use this setup to offer a multifactor utility formulation formalizing the notion of an explicit, autonomy-based preference for self-employment. We propose such a formulation as a theoretically-defensible alternative to the classic (and also psychologically-based) overconfidence hypothesis in explaining why self-employment is chosen despite evidence that newly self-employed individuals earn less than comparable individuals who continue their current employment. Our model, founded on utility maximization by a rational individual, demonstrates not only that newly self-employed individuals are willing to accept lower earnings outcomes in exchange for psychic benefits from self-employment, but also that the structure of their optimal launch-timing decision guarantees that they will quit at a time such that their income will (at least initially) be reduced. We conclude with implications for the design of empirical instruments to quantify the relative importance of autonomy and income.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Carter, Nancy M. & Gartner, William B. & Shaver, Kelly G. & Gatewood, Elizabeth J., 2003. "The career reasons of nascent entrepreneurs," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 13-39, January.
- Simon Parker, 2000. "Saving to Overcome Borrowing Constraints: Implications for Small Business Entry and Exit," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 223-232, November.
- 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.
- Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-748, August.
- Gatewood, Elizabeth J. & Shaver, Kelly G. & Gartner, William B., 1995. "A longitudinal study of cognitive factors influencing start-up behaviors and success at venture creation," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 371-391, September.
- Holmstrom, Bengt R. & Tirole, Jean, 1989. "The theory of the firm," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 61-133 Elsevier.
- Matthias Benz & Bruno S. Frey, 2008.
"Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy,"
London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(298), pages 362-383, 05.
- Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz, 2003. "Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy," CESifo Working Paper Series 959, CESifo Group Munich.
- Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz, "undated". "Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy," IEW - Working Papers 135, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Philipp Köllinger & Maria Minniti & Christian Schade, 2005.
""I Think I Can, I Think I Can": Overconfidence and Entrepreneurial Behavior,"
Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin
501, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Koellinger, Philipp & Minniti, Maria & Schade, Christian, 2007. ""I think I can, I think I can": Overconfidence and entrepreneurial behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 502-527, August.
- 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.
- Cooper, Arnold C. & Woo, Carolyn Y. & Dunkelberg, William C., 1988. "Entrepreneurs' perceived chances for success," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 97-108.
- Holmes, Thomas J & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1990.
"A Theory of Entrepreneurship and Its Application to the Study of Business Transfers,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 265-294, April.
- Holmes, T.J. & Schmitz, J.A., 1988. "A Theory Of Enterpreneurship And Its Application To The Study Of Business Transfers," Working papers 8827, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Hellmann, Thomas F., 2002.
"When Do Employees Become Entrepreneurs?,"
1770, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- Timothy Dunne & Mark J. Roberts & Larry Samuelson, 1988.
"Patterns of Firm Entry and Exit in U.S. Manufacturing Industries,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(4), pages 495-515, Winter.
- Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "Pattenrs Of Firm Entry And Exit In U.S. Manufacturing Industries," Papers 1-88-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
- Baldwin,John R. & Gorecki,Paul, 1995.
"The Dynamics of Industrial Competition,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521465618, December.
- Hyytinen, Ari & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2004. "Entrepreneurial Aspirations," Discussion Papers 890, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
- 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.
- 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.
- Busenitz, Lowell W. & Barney, Jay B., 1997. "Differences between entrepreneurs and managers in large organizations: Biases and heuristics in strategic decision-making," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 9-30, January.
- Shane, Scott & Kolvereid, Lars & Westhead, Paul, 1991. "An exploratory examination of the reasons leading to new firm formation across country and gender," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 6(6), pages 431-446, November.
- Masten, Scott E, 1988. "A Legal Basis for the Firm," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 181-198, Spring.
- Birley, Sue & Westhead, Paul, 1994. "A taxonomy of business start-up reasons and their impact on firm growth and size," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 7-31, January.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:2:p:355-365. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.