Self-employment in Sweden: A Gender Perspective

University dissertation from Växjö : Linnaeus University Press

Abstract: This thesis analyses self-employment from a gender perspective. The data used combines survey data with register data. The survey covers various dimensions such as motivation, job satisfaction and time allocations. These are aspects that typically cannot be assessed by register data. A detailed description of the survey is given in the introductory chapter.The literature on self-employment is large and varied. Among other things, studies have evaluated whether the decision to opt for self-employment was related to pull or push motives by assessing the predicted earnings differential between self-employed workers and wage earners. But few attempts have been made to determine systematically, using large-scale data, the relationship   between reported motivation for choosing self-employment and personal characteristics. Only a limited number of studies have investigated the correlation between motives and economic performance. We examine these issues in more detail in Chapter 1. The results indicate that women and men report similar motivations for self-employment. But women put more emphasis on work-family related factors, while men consider higher income as more important. We find some evidence that the economic performance among push entrepreneurs is lower than pull entrepreneurs.Another well-documented fact is that self-employed workers report higher levels of job satisfaction than wage earners. Relatively little empirical work has been done to examine the causes for this differential, however. This is investigated in the second chapter. Similar to previous studies we find that self-employed are on average more satisfied with their jobs than wage earners. The results show that the observed job satisfaction differential can be ascribed to the fact that self-employed workers have higher control and autonomy over their working days.Self-employed workers typically work longer hours than wage earners, but relatively little is known about how the self-employed allocate their time across different social activities. This issue is addressed in Chapter 3. The empirical analysis indicates that self-employed work significantly longer hours, exhibit a larger dispersion of working time, as well as a higher tendency to work atypical hours compared to wage earners. In addition, female self-employed typically devote less time to housework than female wage earners. 

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