IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The family - a barrier or motivation for female entrepreneurship?




The underrepresentation of women in entrepreneurship is consistent over cultures and countries, and is even higher in Norway than in most other industrialised societies. In spite of a growing literature, the reasons for this pattern are still not well understood. In this paper I explore an area that has been little researched so far, the family and household situation. I study the presence of children and their ages, the role of the partner's characteristics and the household's financial resources. The results show that women are more likely to choose self-employment over wage-work when the children are small, indicating that children are no barrier to entrepreneurship, at least not when defined as self-employment as in this paper. The self-employment propensity of both women and men are negatively related to their partner's working hours and positively related to him (or her) being self-employed himself (herself). The causal direction of these relationships cannot be established in the present analysis and needs to be investigated closer in future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Marit Rønsen, 2012. "The family - a barrier or motivation for female entrepreneurship?," Discussion Papers 727, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:727

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Du Rietz, Anita & Henrekson, Magnus, 2000. "Testing the Female Underperformance Hypothesis," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 1-10, February.
    2. Kolvereid, Lars, 1992. "Growth aspirations among Norwegian entrepreneurs," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 209-222, May.
    3. Schumpeter, Joseph A., 1947. "The Creative Response in Economic History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 149-159, November.
    4. Rachel Connelly, 1992. "Self-employment and providing child care," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(1), pages 17-29, February.
    5. Matthias Benz & Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(298), pages 362-383, May.
    6. Verheul, Ingrid & Thurik, Roy & Grilo, Isabel & van der Zwan, Peter, 2012. "Explaining preferences and actual involvement in self-employment: Gender and the entrepreneurial personality," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 325-341.
    7. Wellington, Alison J., 2006. "Self-employment: the new solution for balancing family and career?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 357-386, June.
    8. Cowling, Marc & Taylor, Mark, 2001. "Entrepreneurial Women and Men: Two Different Species?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 167-175, May.
    9. Simon C. Parker & Mirjam Van Praag, 2010. "Group Status and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 919-945, December.
    10. Shane, Scott & Kolvereid, Lars & Westhead, Paul, 1991. "An exploratory examination of the reasons leading to new firm formation across country and gender," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 6(6), pages 431-446, November.
    11. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
    12. BodenJR., Richard J. & Nucci, Alfred R., 2000. "On the survival prospects of men's and women's new business ventures," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 347-362, July.
    13. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Entrepreneurship-paper of the day
      by UDADISI in UDADISI on 2013-01-12 03:30:00

    More about this item


    Entrepreneurship; self-employment; gender; work and family; partner's characteristics;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:727. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (L Maasø). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.