Professionals, carpenters, and childcare workers: Sex differences in self-employment participation and earnings
AuthorBudig, Michelle Jean
Grant, Donald S.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDespite the revitalization of non-agricultural self-employment among men, and especially among women, since 1970, little research has examined sex differences in self-employment participation and outcomes using national longitudinal probability samples. In addition, even less research has examined how these sex differences vary by occupational status. Using data from each census between 1940 and 1990, along with data from the 1979--1998 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, this dissertation examines sex differences in the historical context of and trends in self-employment, factors that affect the likelihood of self-employment entrance, and earnings returns to self-employment. Analyses are run separately for non-professional and professional workers. Sex differences in the effects of human capital and labor supply, occupational and industrial sex segregation, job characteristics, family factors, and demographic characteristics on self-employment participation and earnings are explored. General theories of self-employment participation, based on the experiences of men, are tested to see if they can explain women's self-employment experiences as well. These theories include three versions of the disadvantaged worker theory--that workers with fewer employable skills, workers in bad jobs, and workers that face employer discrimination will turn to and benefit from self-employment. Two gendered theories that take women's structural position in the economy and the family are also examined. These theories argue that women whose family responsibilities conflict with work obligations and highly skilled women who are trying to circumvent employer discrimination will turn to and benefit from self-employment. Findings show support for the gender-neutral discouraged worker and the gendered work and family conflict theories. Workers in bad jobs are more likely to become self-employed, as are married women and mothers. Less support is found for the glass ceiling breaker theory. Female childless professionals are the only group of women who benefit equally from self-employment, compared with men. All other women face earnings penalties for being self-employed. However, the benefits of self-employment, such as lower child care costs, greater flexibility in work schedules, and control over the intensity of work may compensate for the self-employment penalty mothers incur.
Degree ProgramGraduate College