Self-Employment and Economic Mobility

Research Report

Self-Employment and Economic Mobility

Abstract

Self-employment has held out the promise of economic mobility to generations of Americans. However, it is unclear whether the success stories of self-made men and women represent common experiences or exceptional cases. A more nuanced understanding of the contemporary experiences, outcomes, and impact of self-employment on mobility is necessary to properly evaluate the contribution self-employment makes to economic mobility in the U.S. population. This review describes the mechanisms by which self-employment may have mobility outcomes different from standard employment, paying particular attention to the substantial differences in self-employment effects across income, race, and gender subgroups. (Review 9 of 11.)

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