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Self-Employment and Labor Force Participation of Older Males (Revised)


  • Victor R. Fuchs


This longitudinal analysis of the labor market behavior of older, urban white males in 1969, 1971, and 1973 focuses on changes from wage-and-salary to self-employment and changes from working to non-working status. In each two-year transition approximately four percent of wage-and-salary workers switched to self-employment. They were primarily men who were previously self-employed or who were in wage-and-salary occupations with characteristics similar to self-employment, e.g., managers and salesmen. For a blue collar worker employed forty hours per week the predicted probability of switching was close to zero. Controlling for a large number of economic and demographic variables, the self-employed were significantly more likely to continue to work, partly by reducing their workweek to under 35 hours. Other significant predictors of continuing to work are good health, years of schooling, white collar occupation, no expectation of a private pension, and a workweek longer than fifty hours. Age is also important, especially at the eligibility ages set by social security.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor R. Fuchs, 1980. "Self-Employment and Labor Force Participation of Older Males (Revised)," NBER Working Papers 0584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0584
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard V. Burkhauser, 1979. "The Pension Acceptance Decision of Older Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-75.
    2. Boskin, Michael J. & Hurd, Michael D., 1978. "The effect of social security on early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 361-377, December.
    3. Roger H. Gordon & Alan S. Blinder, 1980. "Market wages, reservation wages, and retirement decisions," NBER Chapters,in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 277-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Paul Taubman & Sherwin Rosen, 1982. "Healthiness, Education, and Marital Status," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 121-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Boskin, Michael J, 1977. "Social Security and Retirement Decisions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(1), pages 1-25, January.
    6. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
    7. Joseph F. Quinn, 1977. "Microeconomic Determinants of Early Retirement: A Cross-Sectional View of White Married Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 12(3), pages 329-346.
    8. Burkhauser, Richard V & Turner, John A, 1978. "A Time-Series Analysis on Social Security and Its Effect on the Market Work of Men at Younger Ages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 701-715, August.
    9. Pellechio, Anthony J, 1979. "Social Security Financing and Retirement Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 284-287, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nadia Simoes & Nuno Crespo & Sandrina B. Moreira, 2016. "Individual Determinants Of Self-Employment Entry: What Do We Really Know?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 783-806, September.
    2. Blanchflower, David G., 2000. "Self-employment in OECD countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 471-505, September.
    3. Levesque, Moren & Shepherd, Dean A. & Douglas, Evan J., 2002. "Employment or self-employment: A dynamic utility-maximizing model," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 189-210, May.
    4. Bell, David N.F. & Rutherford, Alasdair C., 2013. "Older Workers and Working Time," IZA Discussion Papers 7546, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. McCarthy, Patrick S., 1999. "Public policy and highway safety: a city-wide perspective," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 231-244, March.
    6. Kadir Atalay & Woo-Yung Kim & Stephen Whelan, 2014. "The Decline of the Self-Employment Rate in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 47(4), pages 472-489, December.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Bruce, Donald & Schuetze, Herbert J., 2004. "The labor market consequences of experience in self-employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(5), pages 575-598, October.
    10. Xiaogang Wu, 2002. "Embracing the Market: Entry into Self-Employment in Transitional China, 1978-1996," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 512, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.

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