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February 07 , 2010

The Reemergence of Self-Employment

A Comparative Study of Self-Employment Dynamics and Social Inequality


This book presents results of a cross-national research project on self-employment in eleven advanced economies and demonstrates how and why the practice is reemerging in modern societies. While traditional forms of self-employment, such as skilled crafts work and shop keeping, are in decline, they are being replaced by self-employment in both professional and unskilled occupations. Differences in self-employment across societies depend on the extent to which labor markets are regulated and the degree to which intergenerational family relationships are a primary factor structuring social organization.

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For each of the eleven countries analyzed, the book highlights the extent to which social background, educational attainment, work history, family status, and gender affect the likelihood that an individual will enter – and continue – a particular type of self-employment. While involvement with self-employment is becoming more common, it is occurring for individuals in activities that are more diverse, unstable and transitory than in years past.

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