Working Paper No. 845

Using Self-employment as Proxy for Entrepreneurship: Some Empirical Caveats

Published: July 9, 2010Pages: 15Keywords: Labor Force Survey; RAMS; Self-employed; Self-employment; EntrepreneurshipJEL-codes: C81; C82; L26; M13
Published version

Using Self-employment as Proxy for Entrepreneurship: Some Empirical Caveats Carl Magnus Bjuggren, Dan Johansson and Mikael Stenkula


Research on entrepreneurship has received an increased amount of interest in recent years, with self-employment being used as the most common proxy for “entrepreneurship” in empirical studies. However, there are various ways of defining self-employment, making it a somewhat dubious proxy. This may flaw the analysis, especially in cross-country studies, since the documentation of data often is insufficient and difficult to access due to language barriers. We present an analysis of Swedish self-employment data. We show that the measurement of self-employment has changed over time to noticeably affect the reported number of self-employed in the two major statistical sources on self-employment. The reported development of self-employment sometimes differs diametrically depending on source. Sweden is occasionally erroneously reported to show the largest increase in self-employment in cross-country studies. Our study mimics the results of other country-specific analyses and we conclude that well-grounded conclusions require that the advantages and disadvantages of different statistical sources are recognized.

Mikael Stenkula

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mikael.stenkula@ifn.se

An Agenda for Europe

Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Omslag 2017 Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.jpg

The authors of this book, Niklas Elert, Magnus Henrekson and Mikael Stenkula, advise the economies of the European Union to become more entrepreneurial in promoting innovation and economic growth. The authors propose a reform strategy with respect to several aspects to achieve this goal.

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