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Self-Employment Transitions among Older American Workers with Career Jobs

Author

Listed:
  • Michael D. Giandrea

    () (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Kevin E. Cahill

    () (Analysis Group, Inc.)

  • Joseph F. Quinn

    () (Boston College)

Abstract

What role does self-employment play in the retirement process? Older Americans are staying in the labor force longer than prior trends would have predicted and many change jobs later in life. These job transitions are often within the same occupation or across occupations within wage- and-salary employment. The transition can also be out of wage-and-salary work and into self employment. Indeed, national statistics show that self employment becomes more prevalent with age, partly because self employment provides older workers with opportunities not found in traditional wage-and-salary jobs, such as flexibility in hours worked and independence. This paper analyzes transitions into and out of self employment among older workers who have had career jobs. We utilize the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally-representative dataset of older Americans, to investigate the prevalence of self employment among older workers who made a job transition later in life and to explore the factors that determine the choice of wage- and-salary employment or self employment. We find that post-career transitions into and out of self employment are common and that health status, career occupation, and financial variables are important determinants of these transitions. As older Americans and the country as a whole face financial strains in retirement income in the years ahead, self employment may be a vital part of the pro-work solution.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael D. Giandrea & Kevin E. Cahill & Joseph F. Quinn, 2008. "Self-Employment Transitions among Older American Workers with Career Jobs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 684, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:684
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1994. "Entrepreneurial Decisions and Liquidity Constraints," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 334-347, Summer.
    2. F. Thomas Juster & Richard Suzman, 1995. " An Overview of the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30, pages s7-s56.
    3. 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.
    4. Lettau, Michael K., 1997. "Compensation in part-time jobs versus full-time jobs What if the job is the same?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 101-106, September.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Donald Bruce & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Joseph F. Quinn, 2000. "Self-Employment and Labor Market Transitions at Older Ages," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 490, Boston College Department 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hannu Tervo & Hannu Niittykangas, 2011. "Self-employment transitions at older ages in different local labor markets," ERSA conference papers ersa11p764, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Wennekers, Sander & van Stel, André & Carree, Martin & Thurik, Roy, 2010. "The Relationship between Entrepreneurship and Economic Development: Is It U-Shaped?," Foundations and Trends(R) in Entrepreneurship, now publishers, vol. 6(3), pages 167-237, July.
    3. Kevin E. Cahill & Michael D. Giandrea & Joseph F. Quinn, 2012. "The Relationship between Work Decisions and Location Later in Life," Working Papers 458, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    4. Michael D. Giandrea & Kevin E. Cahill & Joseph F. Quinn, 2010. "Employment Patterns and Determinants Among Older Individuals with a History of Short-Duration Jobs," Working Papers 440, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    5. Nadia Simoes & Nuno Crespo & Sandrina B. Moreira, 2016. "Individual Determinants Of Self-Employment Entry: What Do We Really Know?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 783-806, September.
    6. Velamuri, Malathi, 2009. "Taxes, Health Insurance and Women's Self-Employment," MPRA Paper 50474, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Apr 2012.
    7. Macunovich, Diane J., 2009. "Older Men: Pushed into Retirement by the Baby Boomers?," IZA Discussion Papers 4652, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Shanthi Ramnath & John B. Shoven & Sita Nataraj Slavov, 2017. "Pathways to Retirement through Self-Employment," NBER Working Papers 23551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Hannu Tervo, 2014. "Who turns to entrepreneurship later in life? - Push and pull in Finnish rural and urban areas," ERSA conference papers ersa14p236, European Regional Science Association.
    10. Kevin E. Cahill, & Michael D. Giandrea, & Joseph F. Quinn, 2013. "Are Gender Differences Emerging in the Retirement Patterns of the Early Boomers?," Working Papers 468, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    11. Robert Clark & Melinda Morrill, 2013. "Increasing Work Life: The Role Of The Employer," Discussion Papers 13-016, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    12. Macunovich, Diane J., 2009. "Older Women: Pushed into Retirement by the Baby Boomers?," IZA Discussion Papers 4653, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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