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Job satisfaction and self-employment: autonomy or personality?

Lange, Thomas


Thomas Lange


Most studies in the economics discourse argue that the impact of self-employment on job satisfaction is mediated by greater procedural freedom and autonomy. Values and personality traits are considered less likely to explain the utility difference between self-employed and salaried workers. Psychology scholars suggest that entrepreneurial satisfaction also depends, at least in part, on specific values and personality traits. Utilising a large dataset derived from the 2006 European Social Survey, this study performs a complementary analysis by taking personality traits, personal values and indicators for workers’ autonomy explicitly into account. The empirical findings add further strength to economists’ argument that, net of values and personality traits, autonomy and independence are the mechanisms by which self-employment leads to higher levels of job satisfaction. These results hold true for both male and female sub-samples even when a multitude of socio-demographic characteristics, personal values and personality traits are controlled for.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 30, 2009
Online Publication Date Dec 5, 2009
Publication Date 2012-02
Deposit Date Nov 25, 2021
Journal Small Business Economics
Print ISSN 0921-898X
Electronic ISSN 1573-0913
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 2
Pages 165-177
Keywords Job satisfaction, Self-employment, Personality traits, Autonomy, European social survey
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