Small Business Economics

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 427–436

Counting the Self-Employed Using Household and Business Sample Data

  • Richard J. Boden
  • Alfred R. Nucci


This study compares the number and attributes of self-employed workers using the 1982 and 1987 Characteristics of Business Owners (CBO) data and data from Annual Demographic Files (ADF) of the Current Population Survey (CPS) for the same reference years. Both sources of data have been widely used in empirical studies of entrepreneurship/self-employment. Substantial and inexplicable differences were found in the two data series' estimates of the number of self-employed men and women for both reference years. In terms of individual attributes, the CBO and CPS appear to report reasonably similar profiles of self-employed individuals in terms of marital status and geographic location, and similar systematic gender differences in the industrial distributions of these individuals. However, in terms of other attributes captured by both data series, including age, the two series exhibit notable dissimilarities.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Boden
    • 1
  • Alfred R. Nucci
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MarketingThe University of ToledoToledoU.S.A
  2. 2.Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Bureau of the CensusWashingtonU.S.A

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