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Vol. 82, No. 6
Posted 2000-11-01

Who Are the Self-Employed?

by Yannis Georgellis and Howard J. Wall

Self-employment is often viewed as an important route for advancement up the income ladder. For some it may be a better route than paid employment, while for others, who may be disadvantaged when pursuing paid employment, it may be the only route. Despite the importance of self-employment, little is known about who the self-employed are. This paper provides a snapshot of self-employment in the United States, with particular focus on the differences between men and women. Because men and women face vastly different costs and benefits to self-employment, their self-employment decisions differ a great deal. Unsurprisingly then, self-employed men and self-employed women tend to do different things and tend to have different labor market characteristics.

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