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Horatio Alger Meets the Mobility Tables

Listed author(s):
  • Holtz-Eakin, Douglas
  • Rosen, Harvey S
  • Weathers, Robert

The question of how entrepreneurship relates to income mobility is cogent given the current public debate about the sources of income inequality and mobility in United States society. We examine how experience with entrepreneurship has affected an individual's place in the earnings distribution. Our basic tack is to follow individuals' positions in the income distribution over time, and to see how their mobility (or lack thereof) was affected by involvement with entrepreneurship. Our main finding is that for low-income individuals there is some merit to the notion that the self-employed moved ahead in the earnings distribution relative to those who remained wage earners. On the other hand, for those at the upper end of the earnings distribution, those who became self-employed often advanced less in the earnings distribution than their salaried counterparts. Copyright 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Small Business Economics.

Volume (Year): 14 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 (June)
Pages: 243-274

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Handle: RePEc:kap:sbusec:v:14:y:2000:i:4:p:243-74
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  1. Moshe Buchinsky & Jennifer Hunt, 1999. "Wage Mobility In The United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 351-368, August.
  2. Victor R. Fuchs, 1982. "Self-Employment and Labor Force Participation of Older Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(3), pages 339-357.
  3. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
  4. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-827, August.
  5. Rolf Aaberge & Anders Björklund & Markus Jäntti & Mårten Palme & Peder J. Pedersen & Nina Smith & Tom Wennemo, 1996. "Income Inequality and Income Mobility in the Scandinavian Countries Compared to the United States," Discussion Papers 168, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  6. Jaeger, David A. & Stevens, Ann Huff, 1999. "Is Job Stability in the United States Falling?," IZA Discussion Papers 35, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Palme, Mårten, 1994. "Earnings Mobility and Distribution: Comparing Statistical Models on Swedish Data," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 7, Stockholm School of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-535, June.
  10. Brown, James N & Light, Audrey, 1992. "Interpreting Panel Data on Job Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 219-257, July.
  11. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Joulfaian, David & Rosen, Harvey S, 1994. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 53-75, February.
  12. Vincenzo Quadrini, 2000. "Entrepreneurship, Saving and Social Mobility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 1-40, January.
  13. Bruce D. Meyer, 1990. "Why Are There So Few Black Entrepreneurs?," NBER Working Papers 3537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Sarachek, Bernard, 1978. "American Entrepreneurs and the Horatio Alger Myth," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(02), pages 439-456, June.
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