Working Paper No. 1200

Avoiding the Housewife Stigma: Self-Employment as a Female Career Choice

Published: February 12, 2018, revised March 2018Pages: 42Keywords: Career choice; Entrepreneurship; Marriage; Self-employment; WomenJEL-codes: J16; J12; J13; J22; L26

Avoiding the Housewife Stigma: Self-Employment as a Female Career Choice Carl Magnus Bjuggren and Magnus Henrekson


This paper investigates career choices of women who marry high-income men. We find that women married to men in the top of the income distribution are more likely to enter self-employment, which is also associated with a lower income. This can be interpreted as a career choice that produces a more flexible work schedule in return for lower income. In a Nordic welfare state where work is the norm for women, self-employment offers a way to avoid the stay-at-home stigma. It allows one to stay in the workforce while enjoying approval from society and being in control of one’s work schedule and personal demands.

Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union in a Changing World Order

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This book explores how the European Union responds to the ongoing challenges to the liberal international order. These challenges arise both within the EU itself and beyond its borders, and put into question the values of free trade and liberal democracy. 

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