Self-employment of older Americans: do recessions matter?
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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.
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