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The Impact on Earnings When Entering Self-Employment: Evidence for Germany

SOEPpapers 537, 36 S.

Johannes Martin


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Using data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) earnings differentials between self-employed and wage-employed workers in the German labor market are explored. Previous research based on US data reports lower incomes for entrepreneurs. In contrast to that, the findings of this contribution suggest the opposite for German entrepreneurs. They have considerably higher earnings than wage-employed workers. Furthermore, there is a significant and positive effect on earnings when entering self-employment. This holds true when it is also taken into account that workers usually report a smaller firm size and work longer after beginning an entrepreneurial occupation.

JEL-Classification: L26;J31;J32
Keywords: Self-employment, Human Capital, Earnings, GSOEP, Entrepreneurship
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