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Dependent Forms of Self-employment in the UK: Identifying Workers on the Border between Employment and Self-Employment

  • René Böheim

    (Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria and IZA, Bonn.)

  • Ulrike Muehlberger


    (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics & B.A.)

We analyse the characteristics of workers who provide work on the basis of a civil or commercial contract, but who are dependent on or integrated into the firm for which they work. We argue that these dependent self-employed lose their rights under labour law, receive less favourable benefits from social security protection and are often beyond trade union representation and collective bargaining. Using data from the British Labour Force Survey we test two hypotheses: (1) Dependent self-employed workers are significantly different from both employees and (independent) self-employed individuals, thus forming a distinct group. (2) Dependent selfemployed workers have lower labour market skills, less labour market attachment and, thus, less autonomy than self-employed workers. The data support our hypothesis that dependent selfemployed workers are a distinct labour market group which differs from both employees and independent self-employed individuals. Men, older workers, those with low education and a low job tenure have greater odds of working in dependent self-employment than their counterparts. Our results suggest that dependent forms of self-employment are used by firms to increase labour flexibility.

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Paper provided by Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number wuwp091.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwwuw:wuwp091
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  1. Cowling, Marc & Taylor, Mark, 2001. " Entrepreneurial Women and Men: Two Different Species?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 167-75, May.
  2. Taylor, Mark P, 1999. "Survival of the Fittest? An Analysis of Self-Employment Duration in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C140-55, March.
  3. Judith Freedman & Emma Chamberlain, 1997. "Horizontal equity and the taxation of employed and self-employed workers," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 87-118, February.
  4. Fabio Berton & Lia Pacelli & Giovanna Segre, 2003. "Tra lavoro dipendente e lavoro parasubordinato: chi sono, da dove vengono e dove vanno i lavoratori parasubordinati," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 25, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
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