Self-employment and health: Barriers or benefits?

TitleSelf-employment and health: Barriers or benefits?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRietveld, CA, van Kippersluis, H, A. Thurik, R
JournalHealth Economics (United Kingdom)
KeywordsEmployment and Labor Force, Health Conditions and Status

The self-employed are often reported to be healthier than wageworkers; however, the cause of this health difference is largely unknown. The longitudinal nature of the US Health and Retirement Study allows us to gauge the plausibility of two competing explanations for this difference: a contextual effect of self-employment on health (benefit effect), or a health-related selection of individuals into self-employment (barrier effect). Our main finding is that the selection of comparatively healthier individuals into self-employment accounts for the positive cross-sectional difference. The results rule out a positive contextual effect of self-employment on health, and we present tentative evidence that, if anything, engaging in self-employment is bad for one's health. Given the importance of the self-employed in the economy, these findings contribute to our understanding of the vitality of the labor force.


Export Date: 6 August 2014 Article in Press

Endnote Keywords

Health Status/labor Force Participation/Self-employment

Endnote ID


Citation Key8285