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Self-employment and job satisfaction: an empirical analysis

Gema Álvarez (Department of Business Organisation and Marketing, University of Vigo, Vigo, Spain)
Ana I. Sinde-Cantorna (Department of Business Organisation and Marketing, University of Vigo, Vigo, Spain)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 29 July 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test whether the usual positive effect of self-employment on job satisfaction remains once the greater autonomy and flexibility afforded by self-employment have been factored in, as well as the existence of differences in unobserved characteristics across individuals.

Design/methodology/approach

It may be thought that the probability of being self-employed and the declared job satisfaction are not independent from each other due to differences in unobserved characteristics – as psychological or personality traits – across individuals. Therefore, self-employment should be treated as an endogenous variable when it is introduced as an explanatory variable in a job satisfaction equation. Given this, the paper proposes the estimation of a treatment effect model in which self-employment and job satisfaction equations are estimated jointly.

Findings

The results suggest that the usual positive effect of self-employment on job satisfaction is due to the greater work autonomy afforded by self-employment, and not to the greater willingness of the self-employed to report higher levels of satisfaction. Thus, the paper finds that once flexibility and autonomy are considered, the usual positive effect of self-employment on job satisfaction disappears and becomes negative.

Research limitations/implications

It would be useful further empirical analysis using other data, especially panel data, to test the robustness of the results.

Originality/value

The paper proposes an alternative way to analyse the relation between self-employment and job satisfaction by taking into account both the greater autonomy and flexibility afforded by self-employment, as well as psychological or personality traits.

Keywords

Citation

Álvarez, G. and I. Sinde-Cantorna, A. (2014), "Self-employment and job satisfaction: an empirical analysis", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 35 No. 5, pp. 688-702. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-11-2012-0169

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited