The Determinants of Self-Employed Income in a Regional Economy
Supporters claim that entrepreneurship is critical to building and sustaining the regional economies of urban and rural areas across the nation. Proponents argue that economic development practices that enhance and support entrepreneurship are essential because they cultivate innovation which, in turn, creates new jobs, new wealth, and a better quality of life. However, South Carolina’s real self-employed per capita income has decreased over the last decade. This downward trend highlights the need to examine the drivers of entrepreneurial income. The income of self-employed workers, as opposed to the number of self-employed, is critical to economic development because a major goal of economic policy is to increase incomes not just employment. Identifying and quantifying the personal, cultural, and economic factors that influence self-employed income provides policy makers with another tool to enhance economic development policies. This study uses data from the American Community Survey for South Carolina in both an ordinary regression approach and a quantile regression approach to investigate the relationship between individual entrepreneurial income and individual personal attributes, social/institutional assets available to the entrepreneur, and the regional economic environment the entrepreneur operates within. Personal attributes, such as education and sex, and the importance of self-employed income to total family income are significant variables in explaining income variation among self-employed individuals.
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