Satisfaction and Self-Employment: Do Women Benefit More from Being Their Own Boss

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October 2017
Paper author(s): 
Karen Maguire
John V. Winters

This paper uses individual self-reported life satisfaction data to analyze the relationship between self-employment and subjective well-being by gender and race. We document substantial heterogeneity, with women appearing to benefit the most from self-employment. Self-employed women have significantly higher rates of being very satisfied relative to both traditionally employed women and self-employed men. We also find that the self-employed have higher rates of dissatisfaction, and this adverse relationship with self-employment is most pronounced for minorities. These nuanced findings broaden our understanding of the relationship between selfemployment and subjective well-being and have important implications for both researchers and policymakers.


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