Using Self-Employment as Proxy for Entrepreneurship: Some Empirical Caveats

16 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2010 Last revised: 12 Jun 2014

See all articles by Carl Magnus Bjuggren

Carl Magnus Bjuggren

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Dan Johansson

Ratio Institute

Mikael Stenkula

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Date Written: June 12, 2010

Abstract

Research on entrepreneurship has received an increased amount of interest in recent years, with self-employment being used as the most common proxy for “entrepreneurship” in empirical studies. However, there are various ways of defining self-employment, making it a somewhat dubious proxy. This may flaw the analysis, especially in cross-country studies, since the documentation of data often is insufficient and difficult to access due to language barriers. We present an analysis of Swedish self-employment data. We show that the measurement of self-employment has changed over time to noticeably affect the reported number of self-employed in the two major statistical sources on self-employment. The reported development of self-employment sometimes differs diametrically depending on source. Sweden is occasionally erroneously reported to show the largest increase in self-employment in cross-country studies. Our study mimics the results of other country-specific analyses and we conclude that well-grounded conclusions require that the advantages and disadvantages of different statistical sources are recognized.

Keywords: Labor Force Survey, RAMS, self-employed, self-employment, entrepreneurship

JEL Classification: C81, C82, L26, M13

Suggested Citation

Bjuggren, Carl Magnus and Johansson, Dan and Stenkula, Mikael, Using Self-Employment as Proxy for Entrepreneurship: Some Empirical Caveats (June 12, 2010). IFN Working Paper No. 845, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1678516 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1678516

Carl Magnus Bjuggren

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Dan Johansson

Ratio Institute ( email )

P.O. Box 3203
SE-103 64 Stockholm
Sweden

Mikael Stenkula (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

P.O. Box 55665
Stockholm, 102 15
Sweden

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