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Was erklärt hohe Arbeitseinkommen der Selbständigen? Eine Mikroanalyse mit Daten des Sozio-ökonomischen Panels


  • Dierk Hirschel
  • Joachim Merz

    () (LEUPHANA University Lüneburg,Department of Economic, Behaviour and Law Sciences, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)))


The legitimacy of inequality concerning the income distribution in market economies is based on the assumprion of a dominant individual performance and the assumed existence of equal chances. To test the empirical relevance of this assumption requires the analysis of the determinants of the income level as well of income mobility. Whereas the scientific discussion traditionally is centered on the lower income range and poverty, the upper range of the income distribution with high income is rarely investigated. This is valid the more the self-employed are regarded. The term study is analyzing the determinants of high working income of the self-employed (200% of mean as the wealth line) in Germany. We distinguish between individual (human capital, working hours) and structural (social origin, discrimination, region etc.) determinants of the income level. Theoretical background are the prominent income theories. Microdatabase is the socio-economic panel (SOEP). With multivariate paneleconometric approaches (Probit- and Tobit panel model) the single hypotheses are tested. Central result: high income is above all a question of social origin. The social background influences via education and social networks the level of working income. Individual factors compared to the structural influences are rather of lesser importance in determining high income of the self-employed.

Suggested Citation

  • Dierk Hirschel & Joachim Merz, 2004. "Was erklärt hohe Arbeitseinkommen der Selbständigen? Eine Mikroanalyse mit Daten des Sozio-ökonomischen Panels," FFB-Discussionpaper 44, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
  • Handle: RePEc:leu:wpaper:44

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barton H. Hamilton, 2000. "Does Entrepreneurship Pay? An Empirical Analysis of the Returns to Self-Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 604-631, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Rosemann & Anita Tiefensee, 2013. "Messung von Ausmaß, Intensität und Konzentration des Einkommens- und Vermögensreichtums in Deutschland," IAW Discussion Papers 95, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
    2. Merz, Joachim & Zwick, Markus, 2008. "Einkommens- und Verteilungsanalyse mit dem Taxpayer-Panel – Neue Möglichkeiten und erste Ergebnisse für Selbständige als Freiberufler und Unternehmer und abhängige Beschäftigte sowie für hohe Einkomme," MPRA Paper 16299, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Rafael Rucha, 2011. "Hat eine freiwillige Mitgliedschaft in Berufsverbänden einen Effekt auf das Einkommen von Freiberuflern? – Eine Panelanalyse für Deutschland," FFB-Discussionpaper 94, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.

    More about this item


    wealth and income distribution; high working income; self-employed; social background; discrimination; human capital; job performance; GSOEP; theory of justice.;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand


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