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Women’s self-employment in Poland: A strategy for combining work and childcare?

  • Anna Matysiak


  • Monika Mynarska


    (Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics
    Institute of Psychology, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyñski University in Warsaw)

The paper investigates whether self-employment, which generally offers greater flexibility with respect to the hours and place of work, is chosen by women in order to achieve a better balance between paid work and family. The empirical research on this topic has provided conflicting evidence. The shortcomings of previous studies are discussed and accounted for. First, we investigate women's self-employment choices in relationship with childbearing and childrearing, and we apply qualitative methodology to examine the motives that trigger these decisions. Second, in the quantitative part of the study, we investigate the direction of the relationship by analyzing whether self-employment encourages childbearing, or whether motherhood leads women to choose a more flexible form of employment. Finally, we account for the selection of mothers into the group of self-employed due to time-constant unobserved characteristics. Our results show that self-employment does not affect women's fertility decisions, but it can become an attractive option for women after they have children because of the flexibility it offers. Nevertheless, self-employment does not seem to be preferred to W&S contracts. Instead, it is seen as an alternative to being jobless or in a "bad job" (i.e., one that is inflexible, stressful, or demanding).

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Paper provided by Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 68.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:isd:wpaper:68
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  1. Jose Alberto Molina & Jose Ignacio Gimenez-Nadal & Raquel Ortega, 2011. "Self-employed Mothers and the Work-Family Conflict," Post-Print hal-00687811, HAL.
  2. Greg Hundley, 2000. "Male/female earnings differences in self-employment: The effects of marriage, children, and the household division of labor," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 95-114, October.
  3. Rachel Connelly, 1992. "Self-employment and providing child care," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 17-29, February.
  4. Lucia Coppola & Mariachiara Di Cesare, 2008. "How fertility and union stability interact in shaping new family patterns in Italy and Spain," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 18(4), pages 117-144, March.
  5. Le, Anh T, 1999. " Empirical Studies of Self-Employment," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 381-416, September.
  6. Hiromi Taniguchi, 2002. "Determinants of Women's Entry into Self-Employment," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 83(3), pages 875-893.
  7. Aidis, Ruta & Wetzels, Cécile, 2007. "Self-Employment and Parenthood: Exploring the Impact of Partners, Children and Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 2813, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Jacqueline Scott & Shirley Dex & Heather Joshi (ed.), 2008. "Women and Employment," Books, Edward Elgar, number 12716, March.
  9. Anna Matysiak & Daniele Vignoli, 2006. "Fertility and women’s employment: a meta-analysis," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-048, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  10. Laura Bernardi & Inge Hutter, 2007. "The anthropological demography of Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 17(18), pages 541-566, December.
  11. Joanna Sale & Lynne Lohfeld & Kevin Brazil, 2002. "Revisiting the Quantitative-Qualitative Debate: Implications for Mixed-Methods Research," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 43-53, February.
  12. Hildebrand, Vincent & Williams, Donald R., 2003. "Self-employment and Caring for Children: Evidence from Europe," IRISS Working Paper Series 2003-06, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
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