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Are Self-Employed Really Happier Than Employees? An Approach Modelling Adaptation and Anticipation Effects to Self-Employment and General Job Changes

Author

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  • Dominik Hanglberger
  • Joachim Merz

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

Abstract

Empirical analyses using cross-sectional and panel data found significantly higher levels of job satisfaction for self-employed than for employees. We argue that those estimates in previous studies might be biased by neglecting anticipation and adaptation effects. For testing we specify several models accounting for anticipation and adaptation to self-employment and job changes. Based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey (SOEP) we find that becoming self-employed is associated with large negative anticipation effects. In contrast to recent literature we find no specific long term effect of self-employment on job satisfaction. Accounting for anticipation and adaptation to job changes in general, which includes changes between employee jobs, reduces the effect of self-employment on job satisfaction by 70%. When controlling for anticipation and adaptation to job changes, we find no further anticipation effect of self-employment and a weak positive but not significant effect of self-employment on job satisfaction for three years. Thus adaptation wipes out higher satisfaction within the first three years being self-employed. According to our results previous studies at least overestimated possible positive effects of self-employment on job satisfaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominik Hanglberger & Joachim Merz, 2011. "Are Self-Employed Really Happier Than Employees? An Approach Modelling Adaptation and Anticipation Effects to Self-Employment and General Job Changes," FFB-Discussionpaper 88, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
  • Handle: RePEc:leu:wpaper:88
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2011. "Anticipation, Free-Rider Problems, and Adaptation to Trade Unions: Re-Examining the Curious Case of Dissatisfied Union Members," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(5), pages 1000-1019, October.
    2. Dominik Hanglberger, 2011. "Arbeitszufriedenheit im internationalen Vergleich," FFB-Discussionpaper 86, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
    3. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tom Karmel & Ben Braysher, 2015. "How Much Do Tradespersons Really Earn?," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 18(3), pages 329-344.
    2. Andrew E. Clark, 2016. "Adaptation and the Easterlin Paradox," Creative Economy, in: Toshiaki Tachibanaki (ed.), Advances in Happiness Research, edition 1, chapter 0, pages 75-94, Springer.
    3. Lechmann, Daniel S. J., 2013. "Can working conditions explain the return-to-entrepreneurship puzzle?," Discussion Papers 86, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    4. Krause-Pilatus, Annabelle, 2014. "Happiness and Work," IZA Discussion Papers 8435, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Dimitris Mavridis, 2015. "The unhappily unemployed return to work faster," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-22, December.
    6. Suppa, Nicolai, 2012. "Job Characteristics and Subjective Well-Being in Australia – A Capability Approach Perspective," Ruhr Economic Papers 388, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    7. Kaiser, Caspar, 2018. "People do not adapt to income changes: A re-evaluation of the dynamic effects of (reference) income on life satisfaction with GSOEP and UKHLS data," MPRA Paper 89867, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2016. "How Satisfied are the Self-Employed? A Life Domain View," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 1409-1433, August.
    9. Chris Dawson, 2014. "Optimism, Job Satisfaction and Self-Employment," Department of Economics Working Papers 20/14, University of Bath, Department of Economics.
    10. Joachim Merz, 2015. "Sind Rentner zufriedener? Eine Panelanalyse von Antizipations- und Adaptionseffekten," FFB-Discussionpaper 99, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
    11. Nicolai Suppa, 2012. "Job Characteristics and Subjective Well-Being in Australia – A Capability Approach Perspective," Ruhr Economic Papers 0388, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    12. Zhao, Daping & Jiang, Jialing & Yin, Zhichao, 2020. "Can entrepreneurship bring happiness? Evidence from China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 679-686.
    13. 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.
    14. Illoong Kwon & Kitae Sohn, 2017. "Job dissatisfaction of the self-employed in Indonesia," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 233-249, June.
    15. Daniel S. J. Lechmann, 2015. "Can working conditions explain the return-to-entrepreneurship puzzle? [Können Arbeitsbedingungen das „return-to-entrepreneurship puzzle“ erklären?]," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 48(4), pages 271-286, December.
    16. repec:zbw:rwirep:0388 is not listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    job satisfaction; self-employment; hedonic treadmill model; adaptation; anticipation; fixed-effects panel estimations; German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP);
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions

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