The Reemergence of Self-Employment

The Reemergence of Self-Employment: A Comparative Study of Self-Employment Dynamics and Social Inequality

Richard Arum
Walter Müller
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 480
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  • Book Info
    The Reemergence of Self-Employment
    Book Description:

    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.

    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.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2611-7
    Subjects: Sociology, Population Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Tables
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xv-xx)
    Richard Arum and Walter Müller
  6. CHAPTER ONE Self-Employment Dynamics in Advanced Economics
    (pp. 1-35)
    Walter Müller and Richard Arum

    In the second half of the twentieth century, social scientists typically viewed self-employment as an obsolete remnant of past forms of economic organization: its small-scale mode of production was expected to disappear under the dominating logic and competitive pressures of capital accumulation and mass production. Contrary to such predictions, recent developments have demonstrated that self-employment has resisted these pressures. Rather than diminishing its role in contemporary advanced societies, self-employment has grown in many national settings over recent decades. However, recent economic and social changes have not only reinvigorated self-employment, but also affected its character. Both developments require that social stratification...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Trends in Self-Employment in Germany: Different Types, Different Developments?
    (pp. 36-74)
    Henning Lohmann and Silvia Luber

    Self-employed individuals in West Germany in 1998 consisted of roughly 2.7 million people or 9.6 percent of the nonagricultural workforce.¹ Although the self-employed constitute a small group compared with the non-self-employed, they have gained increasing attention in the scientific and public debate for the last ten or fifteen years. Since 1980 the number of nonfarm self-employed has grown by about 50 percent. Current research trends are interested in the causes and consequences of this remarkable growth (Bögenhold 1985, Acs and Audretsch 1990, Leicht 1995). Self-employment is assumed to be linked to high job-creation potential, not only for the self-employed themselves,...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Entries and Exits from Self-Employment in France over the Last Twenty Years
    (pp. 75-103)
    Thomas Amossé and Dominique Goux

    In France there has been a long-run decline in job security, expressed through a secular rise in contingent jobs within firms, as well as a rise in the risk of involuntary job losses for both high- and low-seniority workers (Givord and Maurin 2001; DiPrete et al. 2002). This decline is particularly pronounced in high-tech firms open to international trade and is plausibly driven by the force of globalization, and by the rapid diffusion of new information technologies. At the same time, the wage profiles within firms are becoming flatter, suggesting that the role of seniority is declining, and that employment...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Dutch Self-Employment between 1980 and 1997
    (pp. 104-134)
    Boris F. Blumberg and Paul M. de Graaf

    Between 1945 and the early 1980s, both the absolute and the relative number of self-employed declined in countries with advanced economies. Since the beginning of the 1980s, this downward trend has turned or at least come to a halt in most of these countries. Figure 4.1 shows the development of the Dutch self-employment rate between 1980 and 1996. Since 1983, the share of self-employed among the working populations has grown continuously, and one can speak of a trend reversal. In this chapter, we will investigate Dutch self-employment between 1980 and 1998 along two lines. Our first line looks at more...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Self-Employment in the United Kingdom during the 1980s and 1990s
    (pp. 135-169)
    Nigel Meager and Peter Bates

    A key feature of self-employment in the United Kingdom, as in other countries, is its diversity. Typically, most national data sources on self-employment rely on survey respondents’ self-definition of their status as self-employed, which may differ from their status as defined for purposes of taxation, social security, or employment law.¹ Traditionally, in UK employment law, the key distinction is between acontract of service,which is employment contract under which an employer buys the right to a worker’s service, and acontract for services,under which the organization is buying not the right to the worker’s service, but rather the...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Entrepreneurs and Laborers: Two Sides of Self-Employment Activity in the United States
    (pp. 170-202)
    Richard Arum

    Self-employment in the United States has increased since the mid-1970s in close tandem with an overall growth in labor market inequality. Self-employment activity both reflects the larger trend toward economic polarization—since it involves both successful entrepreneurs and economically marginal laborers—as well as presents itself as a special case of this phenomenon (that is, it is a more advanced form of the general trend of states not just tolerating, but fostering, greater divergence in what is considered acceptable labor market outcomes). Self-employment occupies this peculiar social position because the activity occurs in an economic niche where state, familial, and...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Self-Employment in Australia, 1980–1999
    (pp. 203-244)
    M.D.R. Evans and Joanna Sikora

    Self-employment represented a small but nontrivial niche in the Australian workforce over the last two decades of the twentieth century. In the mid-1980s, 12 to 14 percent of the Australian workforce was self-employed. In the late 1990s,¹ about 15 percent was self-employed. Among men, the proportion of self-employed has fluctuated without trend. Among women, self-employment has grown slightly;² but that still leaves women only a small fraction of the self-employed. Self-employment is strong in agriculture, the building crafts, restaurants, small shops, motor vehicle repairs, domestic cleaning, the liberal professions, and, recently, in specialized niches of the information technology industry. Overall...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Winners or Losers? Entry and Exit into Self-Employment in Hungary: 1980s and 1990s
    (pp. 245-276)
    Péter Róbert and Erzsébet Bukodi

    Recent studies provide evidence that self-employment has become an increasingly important and relevant option to dependent employment. Despite the general tendency toward globalization in the world economy and the growing power of large multinational corporations in both production and service, self-employment appears to remain an alternative for ensuring an adequate standard of living for individuals and families. In searching for explanations for this phenomenon, a broad variety of “pulling” and “pushing” mechanisms have been considered and empirically tested (see, e.g., Arum 1997; Müller, Lohmann, and Luber 2001).

    This chapter investigates the problem by putting some of these mechanisms, both conceptually...

  14. CHAPTER NINE Three Forms of Emergent Self-Employment in Post-Soviet Russia: Entry and Exit Patterns by Gender
    (pp. 277-309)
    Theodore P. Gerber

    Self-employment is a new phenomenon in Russia. Other former Soviet-bloc countries such as Poland and Hungary permitted some limited forms of small or individual enterprise during the 1970s and 1980s (Szelényi 1988; Róbert and Bukodi 2000; Kolodko 2000). But in the Soviet Union official proscriptions relegated self-employment to the realm of the underground economy. Only when the Gorbachev regime implemented the “Law on Cooperatives” in the middle of 1988 could Russians openly take up self-employment. Even then, cooperatives faced tight official constraints on their size, property form, activities, and capacity to hire employees (Jones and Moskoff 1991). Not until the...

  15. CHAPTER TEN Self-Employment in Italy: Scaling the Class Barriers
    (pp. 310-347)
    Paolo Barbieri and Ivano Bison

    Self- and extra-farm employment has once again become of interest to sociologists and economists in Italy, as well as in other developed countries. This is a consequence of both high growth rates in the last two decades (compared with a constant decrease in waged work) and the fact that many of the new occupations available in the post-Fordist labor market are, to some extent, independent. Like other Mediterranean countries, Italy has always had a strong tradition of independent work, even when agricultural self-employment is excluded. This large presence of small and microeconomic activities has long been interpreted, in the light...

  16. CHAPTER ELEVEN Entry into Exit from Self-Employment in Japan
    (pp. 348-387)
    Hiroshi Ishida

    The self-employed and their family workers have long been a substantial and dynamic component of the post-war Japanese economy. The rapid economic development of the 1960s and early 1970s transformed small businesses: the number and proportion of nonagricultural self-employed increased, and many experienced increased profits and made technological improvements and other investments (Kiyonari 1990). Small businesses, which include the self-employed, family workers, and small employers and employees in firms with less than three hundred employees, make up more than two-thirds of the Japanese labor force. The self-employed constitute 11 percent of the total labor force, and family workers account for...

  17. CHAPTER TWELVE On One’s Own: Self-Employment Activity in Taiwan
    (pp. 388-425)
    Wei-hsin Yu and Kuo-Hsien Su

    Self-employment has been one of the major activities of postwar economic development in Taiwan. Despite the increase of wage and salaried employment that accompanied industrialization, more than one-fifth of the labor force in Taiwan, a comparatively large proportion among industrial societies, remained self-employed until the mid-1990s (see Yu 2001b: table 9.1). Furthermore, the average number of employees per establishment declined from 8.6 in 1981 to 7.6 in 1996 (DGBAS 1982, 1997). This was the result of a greater increase in the number of establishments, rather than a change in the size of the labor force during this period. This trend...

  18. CHAPTER THIRTEEN The Reemergence of Self-Employment: Comparative Findings and Empirical Propositions
    (pp. 426-454)
    Richard Arum and Walter Müller

    Seymour Martin Lipset and Reinhard Bendix inSocial Mobility in Industrial Society(1959) observed that “statistics on the small proportion of self-employed at any one time conceal the fact that many more than the present number have owned their own business at some time in the past, and many more will do so in the future.” Lipset and Bendix suggested that “self-employment is one of the few positions of higher status attainable by manual workers” and that while “most of those who try it apparently fail does not change the fact that they do try” (Pp. 180–1). Reviewing the...

  19. Contributors’ Notes
    (pp. 455-458)
  20. Index
    (pp. 459-466)