IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy

  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Matthias Benz

One can be independent, or subject to decisions made by others. This paper empirically tests whether individuals attach an intrinsic value to the institutional difference between independence and hierarchy. Taking self-employment as an important case of independence, it is shown that the self-employed derive more utility from their work than people employed by an organization, irrespective of income gained or hours worked. This is evidence for procedural utility: people do not only value outcomes, but also the conditions and processes leading to these outcomes. Individuals value independence and dislike hierarchy as such, over and above the associated outcomes.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 135.

in new window

Date of creation:
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:135
Contact details of provider: Postal: Rämistrasse 71, CH-8006 Zürich
Phone: +41-1-634 21 37
Fax: +41-1-634 49 82
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Frey, Bruno S. & Pommerehne, Werner W., 1993. "On the fairness of pricing -- An empirical survey among the general population," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 295-307, April.
  2. David G. Blanchflower, 2000. "Self-Employment in OECD Countries," NBER Working Papers 7486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Frey, Bruno S & Stutzer, Alois, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 918-38, October.
  4. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Beyond outcomes: measuring procedural utility," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(1), pages 90-111, January.
  5. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & López-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "The Regulation of Entry," CEPR Discussion Papers 2953, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  8. Amartya Sen, 1996. "Maximization and the Act of Choice," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1766, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  10. Konow, James, 2001. "Fair and square: the four sides of distributive justice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-164, October.
  11. Robert J. Shiller & Maxim Boycko & Vladimir Korobov, 1990. "Popular Attitudes Towards Free Markets: The Soviet Union and the United States Compared," NBER Working Papers 3453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Economic Imperialism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 99-146, February.
  14. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  15. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Economics Series Working Papers 99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  16. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew & Stutzer, Alois, 2001. "Latent entrepreneurship across nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 680-691, May.
  17. Marc Le Menestrel, 2001. "A process approach to the utility for gambling," Economics Working Papers 570, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  18. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  19. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 1999. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Studies in Economics 9903, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  20. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
  21. Clark, Andrew E., 2001. "What really matters in a job? Hedonic measurement using quit data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 223-242, May.
  22. Sen, Amartya, 1995. "Rationality and Social Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 1-24, March.
  23. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  24. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
  25. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  26. Rafael Lalive, 2007. "Do Wages Compensate for Workplace Disamenities?," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 53(3), pages 273-298.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:135. 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: (Marita Kieser)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.