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Self-employment and the intergenerational transmission of human capital


  • David Masclet

    (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Nathalie Colombier

    (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


We use the European Community Household Panel Survey (ECHP) to investigate the determinants of self-employment. More precisely, we consider the influence of immediate social environments and social networks on the choice of self-employment. We conjecture that self-employment is correlated across generations because parents may transmit two classes of informal human capital to their offspring: (1) specific skills for a specific occupation and (2) general managerial skills such as the capacity to acquire autonomy, irrespective of the specific occupation. Our data allow us to dissociate those individuals who are first-generation self-employed from second-generation self-employed (i.e. those whose parents are self-employed), and, among second-generation self-employed, those individuals whose parents are in the same occupation as their offspring. Consistent with our assumptions, we show that having parents who are self-employed increases the probability of being self-employed, even when the individuals do not have the same occupation as their parents. We also observe strong differences between first and second generation self-employed workers. First-generation self-employed are generally younger and more educated than second generation self-employed. Finally our results indicate that first-generation self-employed report higher job satisfaction than second-generation self-employed. Nous étudions dans cet article les déterminants du travail indépendant à partir de l'enquête européenne des ménages (ECHP). Plus particulièrement, nous étudions le rôle joué par l'environnement familial de l'individu. L'originalité de cette étude est de montrer que les parents ne se contentent généralement pas de transmettre à leurs enfants des compétences spécifiques à un métier donné mais également certaines aptitudes managériales non spécifiques à une profession particulière, facilitant ainsi l'accès au statut d'indépendant quel que soit le métier exercé. Nos résultats montrent sans ambiguï
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Suggested Citation

  • David Masclet & Nathalie Colombier, 2005. "Self-employment and the intergenerational transmission of human capital," Post-Print halshs-00106870, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00106870
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Getmansky, Mila & Lo, Andrew W. & Makarov, Igor, 2004. "An econometric model of serial correlation and illiquidity in hedge fund returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 529-609, December.
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    4. David M. Geltner, 1993. "Estimating Market Values from Appraised Values without Assuming an Efficient Market," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 8(3), pages 325-346.
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    7. Nandini Chandar, 2002. "Incentives, Discretion, and Asset Valuation in Closed-End Mutual Funds," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 1037-1070, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Clark & Nathalie Colombier & David Masclet, 2008. "Never the same after the first time: the satisfaction of the second-generation self-employed," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(7), pages 591-609, November.
    2. Laure Pasquier-Doumer, 2013. "Intergenerational Transmission of Self-Employed Status in the Informal Sector: A Constrained Choice or Better Income Prospects? Evidence from Seven West African Countries," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 22(1), pages 73-111, January.
    3. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth & Belton, Willie, 2008. "The Role of Information and Institutions in Understanding the Black-White Gap in Self-Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 3761, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    intergenerational links; human capital; Self-employment; Social capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models


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