May 1, 2022
The notion that self-employed individuals are more satisfied with their jobs than wage-employees has found broad empirical support. Previous research exploring the well-being effects of self-employment typically relies on direct cross-sectional comparisons between wage-employees and self-employed or on longitudinal investigations of transitions in or out of self-employment. In this study, the authors use individuals’ employment status histories in British longitudinal data to examine how accumulated self-employment experience affects job satisfaction, satisfaction with leisure and satisfaction with income. The study finds that those with past work experience only as self-employed report higher levels of job satisfaction than those with experience only as wage-employees. However, individuals with mixed work experience profiles are the most satisfied. This suggests a non-monotonic relationship between self-employment and job satisfaction. Patterns of self-employment experience and other satisfaction domains, such as satisfaction with income or leisure, are more nuanced, differing across gender lines.
Economic and Industrial Democracy
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