Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Self-Employment around the World

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Self-Employment around the World

Article excerpt

In countries around the world, many people think that owning one's own business is a more desirable form of employment than working for others. A recent study by Dartmouth economist David G. Blanchflower, however, argues that self-employment may not be for everyone. Self-employed persons are highly motivated, driven individuals, who face considerable risks and often pay a high price for owning their own business; a price most people are not willing to pay.

Blanchflower presents data for 70 different countries, but focuses on comparisons between the United States and Europe. The study finds that in all countries, larger proportions of workers say they would prefer to work for themselves than actually do. In the United States, for example, 71 percent of the respondents to a survey covering 1997-98 indicated that they would prefer to work for themselves, but only about 7 percent actually were self-employed at the time. Similar disparities exist in Europe and the other countries, even when the proportion preferring self-employment is relatively small. At the same time, the proportion prefering self-employment varied considerably by country--from 27 percent in Norway to 80 percent in Poland.

Such findings present a paradox for economists, because economic theory suggests that as the labor market moves toward equilibrium, the demand for self-employment will meet the supply. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.