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The role of dissatisfaction and per capita income in explaining self-employment across 15 European countries

  • André van Stel
  • Roy Thurik
  • Sander Wennekers
  • Niels Noorderhaven

This paper deals with explaining the sizable differences in the rate of self-employment (business ownership) across 15 European countries in the period 1978-2000, within a framework of occupational choice, focusing on the influence of dissatisfaction and of per capita income. Using two different measures of dissatisfaction, in addition to the level of economic development and controlling for several other variables, we find that, in addition to a negative and significant impact of per capita income, dissatisfaction at the level of societies has a positive and significant influence on self-employment levels. Both dissatisfaction with life and dissatisfaction with the way democracy works are found to influence self-employment. It is concluded that these are proxies for job dissatisfaction and at the same time represent other negative "displacements" known to promote self-employment. The findings indirectly point at the potential importance of push factors within the incentive structures of modern economies.

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File URL: http://www.entrepreneurship-sme.eu/pdf-ez/N200407.pdf
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Paper provided by EIM Business and Policy Research in its series Scales Research Reports with number N200407.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 19 May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:n200407
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  1. Blanchflower, David G & Meyer, Bruce D, 1994. " A Longitudinal Analysis of the Young Self-Employed in Australia and the United States," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 1-19, February.
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  5. Parker, Simon C, 1996. "A Time Series Model of Self-Employment under Uncertainty," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(251), pages 459-75, August.
  6. Audretsch, David B & Thurik, A R Roy, 2000. "Impeded Industrial Restructuring: The Growth Penalty," CEPR Discussion Papers 2648, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Schultz, T Paul, 1990. "Women's Changing Participation in the Labor Force: A World Perspective," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(3), pages 457-88, April.
  8. Blau, David M, 1987. "A Time-Series Analysis of Self-employment in the United State," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 445-67, June.
  9. Iyigun, Murat F & Owen, Ann L, 1998. "Risk, Entrepreneurship, and Human-Capital Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 454-57, May.
  10. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," NBER Working Papers 3530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Simon C. Parker & Martin T. Robson, 2004. "Explaining International Variations in Self-Employment: Evidence from a Panel of OECD Countries," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 287-301, October.
  12. Roy Thurik & Sander Wennekers & Lorraine Uhlaner, 2002. "Entrepreneurship and economic performance: a macro perspective," Scales Research Reports N200220, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  13. David B. Audretsch & A. Roy Thurik, 2000. "Capitalism and democracy in the 21st Century: from the managed to the entrepreneurial economy," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 17-34.
  14. de Wit, Gerrit, 1993. " Models of Self-Employment in a Competitive Market," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(4), pages 367-97, December.
  15. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-48, August.
  16. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Economics Series Working Papers 99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  17. Isobel van der Kuip & Ingrid Verheul, 2003. "Early Development of Entrepreneurial Qualities: the Role of Initial Education," Scales Research Reports N200311, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  18. Sjoerd Beugelsdijk & Niels Noorderhaven, 2005. "Personality Characteristics of Self-Employed; An Empirical Study," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 159-167, 03.
  19. Foti, Alessandro & Vivarelli, Marco, 1994. " An Econometric Test of the Self-Employment Model: The Case of Italy," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 81-93, April.
  20. Santarelli, Enrico & Sterlacchini, Alessandro, 1994. " New Firm Formation in Italian Industry: 1985-89," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 95-106, April.
  21. Uhlaner, L.M. & Thurik, A.R. & Hutjes, J., 2002. "Post-Materialism as a Cultural Factor Influencing Entrepreneurial Activity across Nations," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2002-62-STR, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  22. André van Stel, 2003. "COMPENDIA 2000.2: a harmonized data set of business ownership rates in 23 OECD countries," Scales Research Reports H200302, EIM Business and Policy Research.
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