Not so risky business? How social policies shape the perceived feasibility of self-employment

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

This article addresses ongoing debates about whether the welfare state hinders or fosters self-employment. Starting a business can be an inherently risky undertaking and is thus not a feasible option for all people. Policies that have the potential to shoulder some of this risk can be particularly important for the decision to enter into self-employment. Taking individual differences in terms of risk tolerance into account, we focus on unemployment protection for the self-employed ? a type of risk which is particularly difficult to privately insure oneself against ? in order to investigate the ways in which policy can shape people?s perceptions of self-employment. We combine individual-level data from a 2009 Flash Eurobarometer survey with country-level data on unemployment policies in Europe in a multilevel design, finding that the presence of unemployment protection for the self-employed positively influences individual perceptions of the feasibility of self-employment. Risk-tolerant individuals, moreover, are found to be even more likely to assess self-employment as a feasible option in countries that offer unemployment protection to the self-employed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalJournal of European Social Policy
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)143-160
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

Bibliographical note

doi: 10.1177/0958928717711973

ID: 194912342