Self-employment of older Americans: do recessions matter?
- 577 Downloads
As high unemployment rates linger following the latest recession, job opportunities can be sparse, especially for older workers. This might prompt older Americans to seek out opportunities in self-employment. Alternatively, recession-related decreases in economic activity might make self-employment less attractive. Using the Health and Retirement Study, we find that unemployed respondents are more likely to enter self-employment and that these decisions are clearly affected by recessions, although the effects differ by recession and gender. Unlike men, women’s self-employment decisions are very sensitive to other sources of household income, and women are less likely to become self-employed the deeper the recession.
KeywordsEntrepreneurship Recession Older Americans Economics of gender Unemployment
JEL classificationsL26 J14 J16
We thank participants at the Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Recovery: A Focus on Job Creation and Economic Stabilization Conference for helpful comments.
- Angrist, J. D., & Pischke, J.-S. (2009). Mostly harmless econometrics: An empiricist’s companion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Bruce, D. (2002). Taxes and entrepreneurial endurance: Evidence from the self-employed. National Tax Journal, 55(1), 5–24.Google Scholar
- Bruce, D., Holtz-Eakin, D., & Quinn, J. (2000). Self-employment and labor market transitions at older ages. Working paper 2000–2013. Chestnut Hill, MA: Center for Retirement Research Boston College.Google Scholar
- Evans, D. S., & Leighton, L. S. (1989). Some empirical aspects of entrepreneurship. American Economic Review, 79(3), 519–535.Google Scholar
- Fairlie, R., & Robb, A. (2009). Why do female-owned businesses have lower survival rates, profits, employment, and sales, than male-owned businesses? Small Business Economics, 33(4), 397–411.Google Scholar
- Gurley-Calvez, T., & Bruce, D. (2008). Do tax cuts promote entrepreneurial longevity? National Tax Journal, 61(2), 225–250.Google Scholar
- Lombard, K. V. (2001). Female self-employment and demand for flexible, nonstandard work schedules. Economic Inquiry, 29(2), 214–217.Google Scholar
- Manser, M. E., & Picot, G. (1999). The role of self-employment in US and Canadian job growth. Monthly Labor Review, 122, 10–25.Google Scholar
- Quinn, J. (1980). Labor force participation patterns of older self-employed workers. Social Security Bulletin, 43(4), 17–28.Google Scholar
- Robb, A., & Reedy, E. J. (2012). An overview of the Kauffman firm survey: Results from 2010 business activities. Kansas City: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.Google Scholar
- Wadhwa, V., Aggarwal, R., Holly, K., & Salkever, A. (2009). The anatomy of an entrepreneur: Making of a successful entrepreneur. Kansas City: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.Google Scholar