Economics at your fingertips  

Why Does the Self-Employment Rate Vary Across Countries and Over Time?

Zoltan Acs (), David Audretsch () and David Evans ()

No 871, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: There is a tremendous diversity in the level and time-series pattern of the self-employment rate across countries. After documenting this fact with cross-section and time-series data on industrialized and lesser-developed countries, this paper presents and tests a series of hypotheses concerning the sources of this diversity. We show that the major explanation for this diversity is the stage of economic development. While the tendency for the self-employment rate to decline with economic development has long been recognized, this paper is the first attempt to estimate the statistical relationship between self-employment and economic development and to test an explanation for this relationship that is grounded in theory. We also show that the negative relationship between self-employment and economic development remains after controlling for a number of other factors. Although economic development is an extremely powerful force behind the secular decline in self-employment rates, the convergence of several factors in the 1970s tended to stem the secular decline in the self-employment rate for many countries. Of the 23 OECD countries we examined, 15 had increases in the self-employment rate during the 1970s or 1980s. It is likely, however, that these factors are temporary and that self-employment will continue its downwards trend as per-capita wealth increases in the developed and developing world.

Keywords: Economic Development; Self-Employment; Unemployment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J0 L0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1994-01
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (56) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf)
CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from ... pers/dp.php?dpno=871

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers Centre for Economic Policy Research, 33 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

Page updated 2021-09-05
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:871