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The Impact on Earnings When Entering Self-Employment: Evidence for Germany


  • Johannes Martin


Using data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) earnings differentials between self-employed and wage-employed workers in the German labor market are explored. Previous research based on US data reports lower incomes for entrepreneurs. In contrast to that, the findings of this contribution suggest the opposite for German entrepreneurs. They have considerably higher earnings than wage-employed workers. Furthermore, there is a significant and positive effect on earnings when entering self-employment. This holds true when it is also taken into account that workers usually report a smaller firm size and work longer after beginning an entrepreneurial occupation.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Martin, 2013. "The Impact on Earnings When Entering Self-Employment: Evidence for Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 537, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp537

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alina Sorgner & Michael Fritsch & Alexander Kritikos, 2017. "Do entrepreneurs really earn less?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 251-272, August.
    2. Lechmann, Daniel S. J., 2013. "Can working conditions explain the return-to-entrepreneurship puzzle?," Discussion Papers 86, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    3. Mirko Felchner, 2015. "Einkommensdynamik bei Selbständigen als Freie Berufe und abhängig Beschäftigte Eine dynamische Paneldatenschätzung mit Daten des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels," FFB-Discussionpaper 101, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.

    More about this item


    Self-employment; Human Capital; Earnings; GSOEP; Entrepreneurship;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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