Compensating Wage Differentials Among Self-Employed Workers: Evidence from Job Satisfaction Scores
42 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2002
Date Written: June 2002
Previous studies have found that self-employed workers with long business tenure earn less than other workers with similar characteristics. This difference in earnings can be explained by the compensating wage differential theory when self-employed jobs have attractive, non-pecuniary aspects. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 79 (NLSY79), I test whether moves in and out of self-employment are associated with changes in global job satisfaction. By looking at changes in job satisfaction for individuals over time, I overcome the difficulty of interpreting differences in subjective job satisfaction scores across individuals that cross-sectional analysis would require. Using my estimates, I calculate the monetary value of the non-pecuniary aspects of self-employment and find that the value of self-employment in terms of job satisfaction is sufficiently high enough to support the compensating differential hypothesis as an explanation for lower earnings among self-employed workers.
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