Self-Employment and Health: Barriers or Benefits?

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 13-129/V

22 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2013

See all articles by Cornelius A. Rietveld

Cornelius A. Rietveld

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)

Hans van Kippersluis

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)

Roy Thurik

Montpellier Business School; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Centre for Advanced Small Business Economics (CASBEC); Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM); EIM Netherlands - Business and Policy Research; Tinbergen Institute

Date Written: August 31, 2013

Abstract

The self-employed are often reported to be healthier than wage workers; however, the cause of this health difference is largely unknown. The longitudinal nature of the US Health and Retirement Study allows us to gauge the plausibility of two competing explanations for this difference: a contextual, causal effect of self-employment on health (benefit effect), or a health-related selection of individuals into self-employment (barrier effect). Our main finding is that the selection of comparatively healthier individuals into self-employment accounts for the positive cross-sectional difference. The results rule out a positive contextual effect of self-employment on health, and we present tentative evidence that, if anything, engaging in self-employment is bad for one's health. Given the importance of the self-employed in the economy, these findings contribute to our understanding of the vitality of the labor force.

Keywords: I19, L26

JEL Classification: health, HRS, selection, self-employment

Suggested Citation

Rietveld, Cornelius A. and van Kippersluis, Hans and Thurik, Roy, Self-Employment and Health: Barriers or Benefits? (August 31, 2013). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 13-129/V, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2319268 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2319268

Cornelius A. Rietveld (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

Hans Van Kippersluis

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

Roy Thurik

Montpellier Business School

France

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Centre for Advanced Small Business Economics (CASBEC) ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
+31 10 408 2232 (Phone)
+31 10 408 9146 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.thurik.com

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

EIM Netherlands - Business and Policy Research

Postbus 7001
2701 AA Zoetermeer
Netherlands
+31 79 341 3634 (Phone)
+31 79 331 3742 (Fax)

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

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