Two decades of European self-employment: Is the answer to who becomes self-employed different over time and countries?

Cowling, M., Millán, J. M., & Yue, W. (2019). Two decades of European self-employment: Is the answer to who becomes self-employed different over time and countries? Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 12(C).

  • The self-employment gender gap in Old Europe has diminished significantly and is estimated to be as low as 6-7%
  • However, the gender gap in New Europe remains large and could be as high as four times the scale of that in Old Europe

Europe has seen a substantial rise in the numbers of people choosing an entrepreneurial career path. This dynamic reflects longer-term changes in the nature of work itself and profound changes in the composition of the labour force. In this paper we consider two basic research questions: Who makes an entrepreneur? And, how has this changed over time and across countries? Using 1995 as our reference point this research finds that the gender ‘gap’ has diminished in Old Europe but remains very high in New Europe. We argue for more work on the developing economies of Europe to solve this gender puzzle.

Professor Marc Cowling, Head of Research, College of Business, Law and Social Sciences, University of Derby, UK

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