Using Self-employment as Proxy for Entrepreneurship: Some Empirical Caveats
Research on entrepreneurship has received an increased amount of interest in recent years, with self-employment being used as the most common proxy for “entrepreneurship” in empirical studies. However, there are various ways of defining self-employment, making it a somewhat dubious proxy. This may flaw the analysis, especially in cross-country studies, since the documentation of data often is insufficient and difficult to access due to language barriers. We present an analysis of Swedish self-employment data. We show that the measurement of self-employment has changed over time to noticeably affect the reported number of self-employed in the two major statistical sources on self-employment. The reported development of self-employment sometimes differs diametrically depending on source. Sweden is occasionally erroneously reported to show the largest increase in self-employment in cross-country studies. Our study mimics the results of other country-specific analyses and we conclude that well-grounded conclusions require that the advantages and disadvantages of different statistical sources are recognized.
|Date of creation:||09 Jul 2010|
|Date of revision:|
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- André van Stel, 2004.
"COMPENDIA: Harmonizing business ownership data across countries and over time,"
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N200413, EIM Business and Policy Research.
- Andre van Stel, . "COMPENDIA: Harmonizing business ownership data across countries and over time," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2005-05, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
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