Self-Employment & Ideology

Originally published in Social Science Research Network

Do individuals change their attitudes concerning the market economy and state intervention once they become self-employed? Alternatively, are they already more in favor of markets before they open a business?

Do individuals change their attitudes concerning the market economy and state intervention once they become self-employed? Alternatively, are they already more in favor of markets before they open a business? An analysis of the German Socio-Economic Panel and the British Household Panel Data set confirms the second hypothesis and rejects the first one. Second, large scale surveys cannot give an adequate representation of attitudes as their questions are necessarily narrow. Nine in-depth interviews with successful entrepreneurs and seventeen employed individuals in East Germany confirm the broader relationship between attitudes toward the market economy and self-employment.

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