Diverse Settings, Questions and Approaches
Edited by Karen D. Hughes and Jennifer E. Jennings
Chapter 9: More Gender Equality, Less Women’s Self-employment: A Multi-country Investigation
Kim Klyver, Suna Løwe Nielsen and Majbritt Rostgaard Evald INTRODUCTION In this chapter we investigate the link between gender equality at an institutional level and gender differences in employment choice at an individual level. Previous research on this topic is limited. However, qualitative research indicates that countries which focus on gender equality tend to tailor labour market policies to support women in employment, and leave little attention to minority groups such as self-employed women (for example, Kreide, 2003; Neergaard and Thrane, 2009). Women have a relative advantage in choosing employment over self-employment in these countries. Policies that encourage women to participate in the labour force may decrease the likelihood of women participating in self-employment. The purpose of this chapter is to test the qualitative findings on this topic. Based on a statistical analysis that merges two comprehensive datasets dealing with multiple countries, we find support for previous qualitative findings. The more prevalence of institutional gender equality in countries, the less entrepreneurial activity prevails among women (when compared relatively to men). This argument has been validated by the findings that once women are no longer at a childrearing age, the effect of institutional equality disappears. This happens since labour market equality policies are primarily directed to childrearing women. Women are generally faced with two alternative employment options: to become employed or self-employed. Minniti and Lévesque (2008) claim that the decision to pursue employment is made by rationally evaluating the costs and opportunities of each option in order to maximize...
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