Well-being effects of self-employment: a spatial inquiry

Authors: Maria Abreu*, University of Cambridge, Ozge Oner, University of Cambridge, Aleid Brouwer, University of Groningen, Eveline van Leeuwen, University of Wageningen
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Business Geography
Keywords: entrepreneurship, well-being, self-employment, urban-rural, neighbourhood effects
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Empire Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Our paper presents an empirical analysis of entrepreneurial well-being using a large-scale longitudinal household survey from the UK that tracks almost 50,000 individuals across seven waves over the period 2009-2017, as well as a number of exploratory case studies. We contribute to the existing literature by investigating how entrepreneurial well-being varies across locations along the urban-rural continuum, and across wealthy-deprived neighbourhoods. We use a Coarsened Exact Matching (CEM) approach to compare the well-being outcomes of individuals who switch into self-employment from waged employment, and show that entrepreneurial well-being, in the form of job satisfaction, is significantly higher for those living in semi-urban locations, relative to those living in urban and rural locations. We argue that semi-urban locations provide an optimal combination of ease of doing business and quality of life. Our results also show that individuals in wealthy neighbourhoods who switch into self-employment experience higher job satisfaction than otherwise comparable individuals living in materially deprived neighbourhoods, although the latter experience greater levels of life satisfaction following the switch.

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