There is growing political interest in new forms of precarious self‐employment located in a “grey area” between employment and self‐employment. A wide range of concepts has been used to debate this issue, and this paper aims to clarify these debates through the concept of involuntary self‐employment.
The paper reviews the empirical, conceptual and legal‐policy approaches to involuntary self‐employment via three country case studies in Finland, Germany and the UK. A range of relevant domestic academic literature, articles in the media, selected key expert interviews, and policy and legal documents are employed.
Conceptual clarity regarding involuntary self‐employment is achieved through a discussion of two aspects of the phenomenon: the characteristics of involuntariness from a motives‐based perspective, and the legal/economic perspectives and policy issues. The motives‐based analysis argues that involuntariness as such does not seem to have severe implications on the individuals' well being, given that the individual earns a satisfactory livelihood from her or his business activities. The discussion of the characteristics of and regulation related to working arrangements in the “grey area” between employment and self‐employment, where the self‐employed individual is strongly dependent on the principal, shows that it is very difficult to regulate quasi self‐employment without harming “voluntary” forms of enterprise and inter‐firm cooperation at the same time.
The key contribution of the paper is to facilitate a foundation for subsequent empirical research and policy development.
Kautonen, T., Down, S., Welter, F., Vainio, P., Palmroos, J., Althoff, K. and Kolb, S. (2010), "“Involuntary self‐employment” as a public policy issue: a cross‐country European review", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 112-129. https://doi.org/10.1108/13552551011027002Download as .RIS
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