Well-being and entrepreneurship: Using establishment size to identify treatment effects and transmission mechanisms

Autoři: Christian Bjørnskov aff001;  Nicolai J. Foss aff003
Působiště autorů: Department of Economics, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark aff001;  Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Sweden aff002;  Department of Strategy and Innovation, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226008


Using data from the European Value Survey, covering more than 300,000 respondents in 32 countries between 2002 and 2012, we offer new insight into the consequences for subjective well-being of self-employment. We hypothesize that the positive link between entrepreneurship and well-being is influenced by the extent to which the decision to engage in entrepreneurship reflects voluntary choice and by the ability of the entrepreneur to match entrepreneurial preferences for autonomy, task variety, and challenging tasks to task environments. While the hypotheses are confirmed by our empirical analysis, we also find—rather surprisingly—no evidence that the effects are mediated by autonomy. To handle the endogeneity and simultaneity problems that arise from the fact that the choice to become an entrepreneur is not random and which potentially threaten the validity of our findings, we rely on a novel econometric method which allows us to sidestep the selection problem and establish that the well-being increase associated with entering into entrepreneurial activity is at least approximately equivalent to a one-decile increase in household income.

Klíčová slova:

Agriculture – Behavioral and social aspects of health – Decision making – Employment – Europe – Happiness – Personality traits – Surveys


1. Bjørnskov C, Foss NJ. Institutions, entrepreneurship, and economic growth: What do we know? And what do we still need to know? Acad of Man Perspec. 2016; 30: 292–315.

2. Landes D, Mokyr J, Baumol W. The Invention of Enterprise: Entrepreneurship from Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern Times. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010.

3. Hamilton BH. Does Entrepreneurship Pay? An empirical analysis of the returns to self‐employment. J of Pol Econ. 2000; 108: 604–631.

4. Naudé W, Siegel M, Marchand K. Migration, entrepreneurship and development: critical questions. IZA J of Migration. 2017; 6: 1–16.

5. Blanchflower D, Oswald AJ. Entrepreneurship, happiness and supernormal returns: Evidence from Britain and the US. NBER Working paper 4228. 2002. [Cited 2019 March 5). Available at https://www.nber.org/papers/w4228

6. Benz M, Frey BS. Being independent is a great thing: Subjective evaluations of self-employment and hierarchy. Economica. 2008; 75: 362–383.

7. Amoros JE, Bosma N. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor: 2013 Global Report. Fifteen Years of Assessing Entrepreneurship Across the Globe. 2013 [cited 2019 March 5]. Available at https://www.gemconsortium.org/report/48772

8. Binder M, Coad A. Life satisfaction and self-employment: A matching approach. Small Bus Econ. 2013; 40: 1009–1033.

9. Binder M, Coad A. How satisfied are the self-employed? A life domain view. J of Happiness Stud. 2016; 17: 1409–1433.

10. Bulmash B. Entrepreneurial resilience: Locus of control and well-being of entrepreneurs. Entrepr & Org Man. 2016; 5, 1. [Cited 2019 March 5). Available at doi: 10.4172/2169-026X.1000171)

11. Ryan RM, Deci EL. Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. New York: Guilford Publishing; 2017.

12. Pitlik H, Rode M. Free to choose? Economic freedom, relative income, and life control perceptions. Int J of Wellbeing. 2016; 6: 81–100.

13. Lazear E. Entrepreneurship. J of Labor Econ. 2005; 23: 649–680.

14. Åstebro T, Thompson P. Entrepreneurs, Jacks of all trades or Hobos? Res Pol. 2011; 40: 637–649.

15. Reynolds PD, Camp SM, Bygrave WD, Autio E, Hay M. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2001 Executive Report, Babson College, London Business School; 2002.

16. Dolan P, Peasgood T, White M. Do we really know what makes us happy? A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being. J of Econ Psych. 2008; 29: 94–122.

17. Nizalova OY, Murtazashvili I. Exogenous treatment and endogenous factors: vanishing of omitted variable bias on the interaction term. J of Econ. Methods. 2016; 5: 71–77.

18. Dreher A, Minasyan A, Nunnenkamp P. Government ideology in donor and recipient countries: Does political proximity matter for the effectiveness of aid? European Econ Rev. 2015; 79: 80–92.

19. Nunn N, Qian N. Aiding conflict: The impact of U.S. food aid on civil war. NBER working paper 17794. 2012: [Cited 2019 March 5). Available at https://www.nber.org/papers/w17794

20. Croson DC, Minniti M. Slipping the surly bonds: The value of autonomy in self-employment. J of Econ Psych. 2012; 33: 355–365.

21. Cantillon R. Essai sur la nature de commerce en géneral. 1st ed. 1755. This edition: Henry Higgs, ed. London: Macmillan; 1931.

22. Schumpeter JA. The Theory of Economic Development. 1st ed. 1911. This edition: Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; 1934.

23. Knight FH. Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit. New York: August M. Kelley; 1921.

24. Mises L von. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1949.

25. Kirzner IM. Competition and Entrepreneurship. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1973.

26. Casson M. The Entrepreneur: An Economic Theory. 1st ed. 1982. Second edition, Aldershot, U.K.: Edward Elgar, 1999.

27. Foss NJ, Klein, PG. Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

28. Klein PG. 2008. Opportunity discovery, entrepreneurial action, and economic organization. Strat Entrepr J. 2008; 2: 175–90.

29. Aghion P, Howitt P. A model of growth through creative destruction. Econometrica. 1992; 60: 323–351.

30. Iversen J, Jørgensen R, Malchow-Møller N. Defining and measuring entrepreneurship. Foundand Trends in Entrepr. 2008; 4: 1–63.

31. Douglas EJ, Shepherd DA. Self-employment as a career choice: Attitudes, entrepreneurial intentions, and utility maximization. Entrep Theory and Pract. 2002; 26: 81–90.

32. McGee JE, Petersen M, Mueller SL, Sequeira JM. Entrepreneurial self-efficacy: Refining the measure. Entrep Theory and Pract. 2009, 33: 965–988.

33. Bornstein D. How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2004.

34. Roach M, Sauermann H. Founder or joiner? The role of preferences and context in shaping different entrepreneurial interests. Man Sci. 2015; 61: 2160–2189.

35. Jong JPJ, Parker SK, Wennekers S, Wu C-H. Entrepreneurial behavior in organizations: Does job design matter? Entrep Theory and Pract. 2013; 39: 981–993.

36. Hayton JD, Kelley DJA competency‐based framework for promoting corporate entrepreneurship. Hum Res Man. 2006; 45: 407–427.

37. Mueller S, Volery T, von Siemens B. What do entrepreneurs actually do? An observational study of entrepreneurs' everyday behavior in the start‐up and growth stages. Entrep Theory and Pract. 2012; 36: 995–1017.

38. Markman GD, Baron RA. Person–entrepreneurship fit: why some people are more successful as entrepreneurs than others. Hum Res Man. 2003; 13: 281–301.

39. Audretsch DB, Belitski M. Is happiness conducive to entrepreneurship? Exploring subjective well-being–entrepreneurship relationship across major European cities. Henley Business School Discussion Paper CFE-2015-01. 2015 [Cited 2019 March 5). Available at https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e07c/5fc162c8cc965e1958a6deab39a5684f1405.pdf

40. Zwaan G. L van der, Hengel KMO, Sewdas R, Wind A, Steenbeek R, Beek AJ. van der, Boot CRL. The role of personal characteristics, work environment and context in working beyond retirement: a mixed-methods study. Int Arch of Occ and Env Health. 2018; 92; 535–549.

41. Millán JM, Hessels J, Thurik R, Aguado R. Determinants of job satisfaction: A European comparison of self-employed and paid employees. Small Bus Econ. 2013; 40; 651–670.

42. Diener ED, Oishi S, Lucas RE. Personality, culture, and subjective well-being: emotional and cognitive evaluations of life. Ann Rev of Psych. 2003; 54: 403–425.

43. Deci EL, Ryan RM. The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psych Inq. 2000;11: 227–268.

44. Pannells TC, Claxton AF. Happiness, creative ideation, and locus of control. Creativity Res J. 2008; 20: 67–71.

45. Legerski EM, Cornwall M, O'Neil B. Changing locus of control: Steelworkers adjusting to forced unemployment. Social Forces. 2006; 84: 1521–1537

46. Lange T. Job satisfaction and self-employment: autonomy or personality? Small Bus Econ. 2012; 38: 165–177.

47. Dawson C. (2017). Financial Optimism and Entrepreneurial Satisfaction. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 11, 171–194.

48. Guerra G, Patuelli R. The role of job satisfaction in transitions into self‐employment. Entrep Theory and Pract. 2014; 40: 543–571.

49. Zhao H, Seibert SE, Lumpkin GT. The relationship of personality to entrepreneurial intentions and performance: A meta-analytic review. J of Man. 2010; 36: 381–404.

50. European Social Survey. Integrated File, Round 1–6. 2016. [Accessed 2017 June 5] Available at http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/data/

51. Frey BS, Stutzer A. Happiness and Economics: How the Economy and Institutions Affect Human Well-Being. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

52. Frey BS, Stutzer A. The use of happiness research for public policy. Soc Choice and Welf. 2012; 38: 659–674.

53. Graham C. Adaptation amidst prosperity and adversity: Insights from happiness studies from around the World. World Bank Res Obs. 2010; 26: 105–137.

54. Stiglitz J, Sen A, Fitoussi J-P. Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. Paris: OECD, 2009.

55. Veenhoven R. 1984. Conditions of Happiness. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic; 1984.

56. Luhmann M, Hofmann W, Eid M, Lucas RE. Subjective well-being and adaptation to Life events: A meta-analysis on differences between cognitive and affective well-being. J of Pers and Soc Psych. 2012; 102: 592–615.

57. Baron RA. The role of affect in the entrepreneurial process. Acad of Man Rev. 2006; 33: 328–340.

58. van Stel A. J. COMPENDIA: Harmonising Business Ownership Data Across Countries and Over Time. Int Entrep and Man J. 2005; 1: 105–123.

59. Beugelsdijk S, Noorderhaven N. Personality characteristics of self-Employed: An empirical study. Small Bus Econ. 2005; 24: 159–167.

60. Bjørnskov C, Dreher A, Fischer JAV. Cross-country determinants of life satisfaction: Exploring different determinants across groups in society. Soc Choice and Welf. 2008; 30: 119–173.

61. Hansen T. Parenthood and Happiness: a Review of Folk Theories Versus Empirical Evidence. Soc Indicators Res. 2012; 108: 29–64.

62. Bjørnskov C, Foss NJ. Economic freedom and entrepreneurial activity: Some cross-country evidence. Publ Choice. 2008; 134: 307–328.

63. Briggs DC. Causal inference and the Heckman model. J of Educ and Behav Stat. 2004; 29: 397–420.

64. Foundation Heritage. 2017 Index of Economic Freedom: Promoting Economic Opportunity and Prosperity. Washington DC: Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal; 2017.

65. Estrin S, Korosteleva J, Mickiewicz T. Which institutions encourage entrepreneurial growth aspirations? J of Bus Vent. 2013; 28: 564–580.

Článek vyšel v časopise


2020 Číslo 1
Nejčtenější tento týden