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Does Self-Employment Reduce Unemployment?

  • André van Stel
  • Roy Thurik
  • David Audretsch
  • Martin Carree

This paper investigates the dynamic interrelationship between self-employment and unemployment rates. On the one hand, unemployment rates may stimulate start-up activity of self-employed. On the other hand, higher rates of self-employment may indicate increased entrepreneurial activity reducing unemployment in subsequent periods. These two effects have resulted in considerable ambiguities about the interrelationship between unemployment and entrepreneurial activity. This paper introduces a two-equation vector autoregression model capable of reconciling these ambiguities and tests it for data of 23 OECD countries over the period 1974-2002. The empirical results confirm the two distinct relationships between unemployment and self-employment, i.e. 'refugee' and 'entrepreneurial' effects. We also find that the 'entrepreneurial' effects are considerably stronger than the 'refugee' effects. An updated version of this paper has been published in the Journal of Business Venturing in 2008 (Volume 23, Issue 6, pp. 673-686).

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Paper provided by EIM Business and Policy Research in its series Scales Research Reports with number N200504.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: 21 Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:n200504
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