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

  • Verheul, I.
  • Thurik, A.R.
  • Grilo, I.

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 socio-demographic 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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Paper provided by 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 in its series ERIM Report Series Research in Management with number ERS-2008-003-ORG.

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Date of creation: 28 Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:10979
Contact details of provider: Postal: RSM Erasmus University & Erasmus School of Economics, PoBox 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam
Phone: 31-10-408 1182
Fax: 31-10-408 9020
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  1. Marco van Gelderen & Niels Bosma & Roy Thurik, 2003. "Success and risk factors in the pre-startup phase," Scales Research Reports N200314, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  2. Audretsch, David B & Carree, Martin A & Thurik, A R Roy & van Stel, André, 2005. "Does Self-Employment Reduce Unemployment?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5057, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Parker,Simon C., 2004. "The Economics of Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521828130, October.
  4. Roy Thurik & Ingrid Verheul & Lorraine Uhlaner, 2003. "Business accomplishments, gender and entrepreneurial self-image," Scales Research Reports N200312, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  5. 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.
  6. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Roy Thurik & Isabel Grilo & Peter van der Zwan, 2006. "The entrepreneurial ladder and its determinants," Scales Research Reports H200620, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Pia Arenius & Maria Minniti, 2005. "Perceptual Variables and Nascent Entrepreneurship," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 233-247, 02.
  14. Burke, Andrew E & FitzRoy, Felix R & Nolan, Michael A, 2002. " Self-Employment Wealth and Job Creation: The Roles of Gender, Non-pecuniary Motivation and Entrepreneurial Ability," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 255-70, November.
  15. Bates, Timothy, 1995. "Self-employment entry across industry groups," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 143-156, March.
  16. Michael Hout & Harvey S. Rosen, 1999. "Self-Employment, Family Background, and Race," NBER Working Papers 7344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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