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Gender differences in self-employment in Spain

Paz Rico (Departamento de Análisis Económico, Universitat de Valencia, Valencia, Spain)
Bernardí Cabrer-Borrás (Facultat d’Economia, Universitat de Valencia, Valencia, Spain)

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-6266

Article publication date: 16 February 2018

Issue publication date: 23 February 2018




The purpose of this paper is to analyse the gender differences of self-employment in Spain.


A binary choice model is specified and estimated, using information from the Continuous Working Life Sample drawn from the registers of the Spanish Social Security. Moreover, the differences in self-employment between men and women are also analysed, through the decomposition proposed by Yun (2004).


The results indicate that the differences between both groups in the probability of being entrepreneurs stem from unobservable factors. The difference explained by the unobservable component is 84.12 per cent, whereas the rest, 15.88 per cent, is explained by the characteristics component. The explanatory factors of being an entrepreneur affect men and women in the same way, but to a different extent, explained mainly by factors related to gender.


This paper sets out to identify whether there are gender differences in the probability of becoming self-employed and, if there are, to quantify what part of the difference in entrepreneurship between men and women is explained by the characteristics of each gender group and what part is because of unobservable factors. From the perspective of the public authority, knowing the determinants that explain why the entrepreneurial activity is different depending on gender is fundamental in being able to reduce the entrepreneurial gap between men and women.



The authors are grateful for the comments made by the anonymous evaluators, since he has undoubtedly contributed to improve the quality of work. However, any error is only the responsibility of the authors. Also, authors would like to thank the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness for its support through Project CS02013-43054-R.


Rico, P. and Cabrer-Borrás, B. (2018), "Gender differences in self-employment in Spain", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 19-38.



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