Small Business Economics

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 421–435 | Cite as

Self-employment and the paradox of the contented female worker

  • Keith A. Bender
  • Kristen RocheEmail author


A large literature finds that the self-employed are more satisfied in their jobs. Interestingly, like in the wage and salary sector, ceteris paribus, self-employed women are found to have more satisfaction in their jobs than self-employed men, even though the gender earnings differential is higher for the self-employed. This paper examines the so-called paradox of the contented female worker for both sectors, focusing on the importance of certain job attributes and whether workers actually experience these attributes. Properly controlling for the gap between desiring and actually obtaining these attributes ‘explains’ the gender differential in job satisfaction of the self-employed.


Job satisfaction Self-employment Gender differences Job attributes Paradox of the contented female worker 

JEL Classifications

J16 J21 J28 J31 L26 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenScotland, UK
  2. 2.Business Administration DepartmentMount Mary UniversityMilwaukeeUSA

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