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Switching Costs and Occupational Transition into Self-Employment

  • Henley, Andrew

    ()

    (Cardiff University)

Contemporary dynamic theories of self-employment choice focus on occupational switching costs, and the risk associated with entrepreneurial income streams. However little or no previous research has addressed the question of what factors determine the length of time that it takes aspiring entrepreneurs to switch into self-employment. The existence of switching costs suggests that choice may be subject to 'hysteresis' (akin to investment under conditions of irreversibility and uncertainty). This paper presents empirical evidence on the dynamics of entrepreneurial transition drawing on data from Waves 8 to 16 of the British Household Panel Survey. The paper estimates a discrete-time duration model of the time between initial expressions of aspiration to transition into self-employment. The model incorporates measures of local economic volatility to capture uncertainty, as well as a range of demographic and background factors which may be associated with lower switching costs. Econometric results reveal that switching costs are lower for men, older individuals and graduates, as well as for those with prior entrepreneurial experience. Increased volatility in the local housing market is also found to be associated with slower transition, suggesting that information about the housing market may form an important indicator of uncertainty for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3969.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3969
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  1. Dixit Avinash & Rob Rafael, 1994. "Switching Costs and Sectoral Adjustments in General Equilibrium with Uninsured Risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 48-69, February.
  2. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
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  9. De Wit, G. & Winden, F., 1989. "An Empirical Analysis Of Self-Employment In The Netherlands," Papers 89.02, NEUHUYS - RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM.
  10. 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.
  11. Favero, Carlo A & Pesaran, M Hashem & Sharma, Sunil, 1994. "A Duration Model of Irreversible Oil Investment: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(S), pages S95-112, Suppl. De.
  12. Fairlie, Robert, 2014. "Ethnic and Racial Self-Employment Differences and Possible Explanations," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt24p7v6gc, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  13. Yannis Georgellis & John Sessions & Nikolaos Tsitsianis, 2005. "Windfalls, Wealth, and the Transition to Self-Employment," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 25(5), pages 407-428, December.
  14. Carruth, Alan & Dickerson, Andrew & Henley, Andrew, 2000. " What Do We Know about Investment under Uncertainty?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 119-53, April.
  15. Zissimopoulos, Julie M. & Karoly, Lynn A., 2007. "Transitions to self-employment at older ages: The role of wealth, health, health insurance and other factors," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 269-295, April.
  16. Erik Hurst & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 319-347, April.
  17. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Easy Estimation Methods for Discrete-Time Duration Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 129-38, February.
  18. Dunn, Thomas & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 2000. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment: Evidence from Intergenerational Links," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 282-305, April.
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