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Do Husbands Matter? Married Women Entering Self-Employment

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This paper investigates the effect of a husband's self-employment experience on the probability that his wife will enter self-employment. Results suggest that having a husband with some exposure to self-employment nearly doubles the probability that a woman will become self-employed, all else equal. Further, the effect is found to be strongest if a woman's husband is actually self-employed at the time she is contemplating a transition. Having a husband with prior self-employment experience also has an important yet quantitatively smaller effect. A series of robustness checks suggest that family businesses and assortative mating only partially explain this large effect. Intrahousehold transfers of human (and, to a much lesser degree, financial) capital might also play a role.

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Bruce, D. Do Husbands Matter? Married Women Entering Self-Employment. Small Business Economics 13, 317–329 (1999).

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