The Value of Autonomy: Evidence from the Self-Employed in 23 Countries
Institute for Empirical Research in Economics Working Paper No. 173
16 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2004
The self-employed are substantially more satisfied with their work than employed persons. We document this relationship for 23 countries and show that the higher job satisfaction can directly be attributed to the greater autonomy that self-employed persons enjoy. "Being your own boss" seems to provide non-pecuniary benefits from work that point to the existence of procedural utility: autonomy is valued beyond outcomes as a good decision-making procedure. The results hold not only for Western European, North American and former communist Eastern European countries, but largely also for countries with a non-western cultural background.
Keywords: self-employment, autonomy, job satisfaction, procedural utility
JEL Classification: D00, M54, J23, J81, L22
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