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Explaining Preferences and Actual Involvement in Self-Employment: New Insights into the role of Gender

  • Roy Thurik
  • Ingrid Verheul
  • Isabel Grilo

This paper investigates why women’s self-employment rates are consistently lower than those of men. It has three focal points. It discriminates between the preference for self-employment and actual involvement in self-employment using a two (probit) equation model. It makes a systematic distinction between different ways in which gender influences the preference for and actual involvement in self-employment (mediation and moderation). It includes perceived ability as a potential driver of self-employment next to risk attitude, self-employed parents and other sociodemographic drivers. A representative data set of more than 8,000 individuals from 29 countries (25 EU member states, US, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) is used (the 2004 Flash Eurobarometer survey). The findings show that women’s lower preference for becoming self-employed plays an important role in explaining their lower involvement in self-employment and that a gender effect remains that may point at gender-based obstacles to entrepreneurship.

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File URL: http://www.entrepreneurship-sme.eu/pdf-ez/H200803.pdf
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Paper provided by EIM Business and Policy Research in its series Scales Research Reports with number H200803.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 12 Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:h200803
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  1. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete too Much?," Discussion Papers 04-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  2. Frederic Delmar & Per Davidsson, 2000. "Where do they come from? Prevalence and characteristics of nascent entrepreneurs," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 1-23, January.
  3. Marco Gelderen & Roy Thurik & Niels Bosma, 2005. "Success and Risk Factors in the Pre-Startup Phase," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 365-380, 05.
  4. Bates, Timothy, 1995. "Self-employment entry across industry groups," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 143-156, March.
  5. Riding, Allan L. & Swift, Catherine S., 1990. "Women business owners and terms of credit: Some empirical findings of the Canadian experience," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 5(5), pages 327-340, September.
  6. Thurik, A. Roy & Carree, Martin A. & van Stel, André & Audretsch, David B., 2008. "Does self-employment reduce unemployment?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 673-686, November.
  7. KruegerJR, Norris F. & Reilly, Michael D. & Carsrud, Alan L., 2000. "Competing models of entrepreneurial intentions," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 15(5-6), pages 411-432.
  8. Michael Hout & Harvey S. Rosen, 1999. "Self-Employment, Family Background, and Race," NBER Working Papers 7344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Roy Thurik & Ingrid Verheul & Lorraine Uhlaner, 2003. "Business accomplishments, gender and entrepreneurial self-image," Scales Research Reports N200312, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  10. Van Praag, C Mirjam & Van Ophem, Hans, 1995. "Determinants of Willingness and Opportunity to Start as an Entrepreneur," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 513-40.
  11. Pia Arenius & Maria Minniti, 2005. "Perceptual Variables and Nascent Entrepreneurship," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 233-247, 02.
  12. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
  13. Andrew E. Burke & Felix R. FitzRoy & Michael A. Nolan, 2000. "Self-Employment Wealth and Job Creation: The Roles of Gender, Non-Pecuniary Motivation and Entrepreneurial Ability," CRIEFF Discussion Papers 0006, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
  14. repec:dgr:uvatin:20060103 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. John O. Ogbor, 2000. "Mythicizing and Reification in Entrepreneurial Discourse: Ideology-Critique of Entrepreneurial Studies," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(5), pages 605-635, 07.
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