Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Rationality of Self-Employment: Do Female and Male Entrepreneurs Differ?

Bögenhold, Dieter and Fachinger, Uwe (2014): Rationality of Self-Employment: Do Female and Male Entrepreneurs Differ? Published in: Journal of Business and Finance , Vol. 1, No. 2 (2014): pp. 42-62.

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Abstract

It is not clear, whether changes in self-employment are primarily driven by the necessity to take part in the labour market, or if those activities reflect new modes of labour market integration revealing new opportunities and markets, which are especially due in wide parts to the service and health care sector. A fundamental question is how gender matters when investigating the above-mentioned developments. Do we find specific “gender patterns” within the increasing expansion of self-employment, or will the new chances and risks lead to greater equality of opportunities? Is the increase of solo-self-employment of females driven by the need to earn a living, or is it the result of females taking risks, e.g. to become more economically independent? The structural changes of the labour market raise the question whether self-employment can be seen as a strategy for women to achieve work-life balance and whether these changes in the organisation of work are leading to an improvement of the quality of (working) life. To gather more reliable information, the relationship between self-employment, partner’s employment, the household and children is explored, using Germany as an example. The influence of personal as well as household and labour market characteristics for women and men in a family context and their probability of being self-employed as compared to those who have chosen formal, gainful employment are analysed. The empirical analysis shows that people’s intentions to engage in a specific volume and with specific degrees of motivation reflect diverse areas in the organization of private life. The rationality of private duties, needs, challenges and aspirations belongs to the factors, which influence the decision to engage in the labour market. A crucial impact on those decisions is given by the individual’s domestic background and what the household looks like. Issues of firm partnership, marital status, and the existence of children and age of children or elderly relatives are factors, which provide different life-worlds, which set relevant parameters. In the end, the household as the entity and composition of different interests, motivations, needs, and obstacles proves to be the real acting subject of our analysis.

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