Sticking It Out: What Drives the Self-Employed

Sticking it out and persisting in self-employment may be determined by numerous factors, but what about individual attributes such as personality and openness to new experience? Pankaj C. Patel of Ball State University and Sherry M. B. Thatcher of the University of Louisville published “Sticking It Out: Individual Attributes and Persistence in Self-Employment” in the Journal of Management:

There is evidence that individual attributes play an important role in self-employment entrance decisions. Drawing on the personality, psychological well-being, and goal attainment literature, the authors ask, What individual attributes are associated with persistence in self-employment? First, they theoretically develop the concept of self-employment persistence and then empirically assess the effects of individual attributes on self-employment persistence, while including the baseline effects of these individual attributes on self-employment entrance. They use a semiparametric, reduced-form, multiple-state transition model and control for demographic and social determinants. Using employment history data of a cohort of 2,839 individuals from 1957 to 2004, the authors find that openness to experience, autonomy, and tenacious goal pursuit increase persistence in self-employment, whereas neuroticism reduces persistence in self-employment. They discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the findings.

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