Self-Employment Rents : Evidence from Job Satisfaction Scores
Previous studies have pointed to the existence of barriers at the entry of self-employed sectors, such as liquidity constraints. In many countries, policies are directed toward removing these barriers in order to promote entrepreneurial activity. This paper examines whether such barriers exist by examining the amount of rent enjoyed by self-employed workers; if there are no barriers between the self-employed sector and the salary/wage sector, self-employed workers should not enjoy rents. Examination of the rent associated with self-employment, however, cannot simply be accomplished by comparing the incomes of self-employed and salary/wage workers. This is because self-employed workers may enjoy higher utility due to their work environment, with such benefits as autonomy and flexibility of work schedules. To overcome the difficulty of measuring self-employment rents, I use self-reported job satisfaction from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 79 (NLSY79) to capture workers' overall satisfaction with their jobs. The results robustly indicate that self-employed workers are more satisfied with their jobs than salary/wage workers, even after allowing for the time-invariant individual heterogeneity in their reported job satisfaction. This result suggests that there are barriers at the entry into self-employment and that self-employed workers enjoy rents.
Volume (Year): 49 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
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