Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

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  

Matthias Benz

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Benz, Matthias and Frey, Bruno S., The Value of Autonomy: Evidence from the Self-Employed in 23 Countries. Institute for Empirical Research in Economics Working Paper No. 173. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=475140 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.475140

Matthias Benz (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
Switzerland
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002
Switzerland

Paper statistics

Downloads
603
Rank
35,689
Abstract Views
3,207