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Entrepreneurial Success and Subjective Well-Being: Worries about the Business Explain One's Well-Being Loss from Self-Employment

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  • Martin Binder

Abstract

Despite lower incomes the self-employed often report higher job satisfaction. But this increased job satisfaction only sometimes translates into higher life satisfaction, likely due to the heterogeneous nature of self-employment. By distinguishingdifferent types of self-employment, this paper sheds light onto why some self-employeds even report lower life satisfaction, focussing specifically on poor performance enterprises, a prevalent but disregarded type of entrepreneurship. Using German panel data (1984-2015), I find that self-employment (compared to employment) typically negatively impacts on life satisfaction, especially so if one enters self-employment from unemployment, earns low incomes from self-employment or has no employees. Worries about one's financial situation and job security appear to be the driving forces behind this negative effect. Only very few self-employeds report higher life satisfaction, a boost that seems to relate to the pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities. In sum, looking at the average self-employed obscures the heterogeneity of well-being impacts resulting from different types of self-employment one might find themselves in, and being on the lower end of the success distribution carries a well-being cost instead of bringing joy.

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  • Martin Binder, 2017. "Entrepreneurial Success and Subjective Well-Being: Worries about the Business Explain One's Well-Being Loss from Self-Employment," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 947, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp947
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    Keywords

    subjective well-being; self-employment; entrepreneurial success; SOEP; life satisfaction;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

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