IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Income taxes and the probability to become self-employed: The case of Sweden

  • Hansson, Åsa


    (Department of Economics , Lund University and Ratio, Stockholm)

It is widely recognized that entrepreneurial activity plays an important role in promoting new product innovation, discovering new markets, and replacing inefficient incumbents in a process called “creative destruction”, all of which enhance economic growth. Given the importance of entrepreneurship and small business enterprises it is not surprising that policy makers worldwide (and especially in Europe) try to stimulate entrepreneurial activity. One public policy, frequently discussed, is how to design tax policies that stimulate start-ups and entrepreneurship. Existing knowledge about taxes’ effect on entrepreneurial activity and start-ups is relatively limited, however. Existing empirical studies are primarily based on US data and have until recently used aggregated tax measures (e.g., average national tax rates) or hypothetical marginal tax rates and time-series or cross-section data. This study, however, uses a particular rich longitudinal micro-level dataset based on Swedish tax-return information, which makes it possible to track a cohort of individuals over time periods during which tax rate changes took place, and thereby isolate whether real-life individual decisions about self-employment are affected by changes in the tax rates they actually face. In addition, as the tax structure in Sweden is neutral as opposed to the US that encourages risk taking and tax-driven self-employment, studying the effect of income taxes on the probability to become self-employed based on Swedish data provides information about how taxes on self-employment affect self-employment. Contrary to earlier studies based on US data, I find both average and marginal tax rates to negatively impact the probability to become self-employed.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The Ratio Institute in its series Ratio Working Papers with number 122.

in new window

Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 04 Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0122
Contact details of provider: Postal:
The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden

Phone: 08-441 59 00
Fax: 08-441 59 29
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implicationsfor Growth," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 65, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  2. Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter, 2000. "LINDA - Longitudinal INdividual DAta for Sweden," Working Paper Series 2000:19, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. Robert Carroll & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Mark Rider & Harvey S. Rosen, 2000. "Personal Income Taxes and the Growth of Small Firms," NBER Working Papers 7980, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1993. "Sticking it Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 4494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  7. Per Engstrom & Bertil Holmlund, 2009. "Tax evasion and self-employment in a high-tax country: evidence from Sweden," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(19), pages 2419-2430.
  8. Robert Carroll & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Mark Rider & Harvey S. Rosen, 2000. "Income Taxes and Entrepreneurs' Use of Labor," NBER Working Papers 6578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cullen, Julie Berry & Gordon, Roger H., 2007. "Taxes and entrepreneurial risk-taking: Theory and evidence for the U.S," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1479-1505, August.
  10. Bruce, Donald, 2002. "Taxes and Entrepreneurial Endurance: Evidence from the Self-Employed," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 1), pages 5-24, March.
  11. Roger H. Gordon & Julie Berry Cullen, 2002. "Taxes and Entrepreneurial Activity: Theory and Evidence for the U.S," NBER Working Papers 9015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Blanchflower, David G. & Shadforth, Chris, 2007. "Entrepreneurship in the UK," Foundations and Trends(R) in Entrepreneurship, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 257-364, July.
  13. 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.
  14. R. Glenn Hubbard & William M. Gentry, 2000. "Tax Policy and Entrepreneurial Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 283-287, May.
  15. Johansson, Edvard, 2000. " Self-Employment and Liquidity Constraints: Evidence from Finland," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 123-34, March.
  16. Bruce, Donald, 2000. "Effects of the United States tax system on transitions into self-employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 545-574, September.
  17. Nykvist, Jenny, 2005. "Entrepreneurship and Liquidity Constraints: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 2005:21, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  18. 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.
  19. David Audretsch, 2004. "Sustaining Innovation and Growth: Public Policy Support for Entrepreneurship," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 167-191.
  20. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
  21. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
  22. Bruce D. Meyer, 1990. "Why Are There So Few Black Entrepreneurs?," NBER Working Papers 3537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0122. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Martin Korpi)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.