by Joelle Abramowitz, University of Michigan
Many people engage in self-employment, yet there exists a dearth of data on these arrangements. This lack of data prevents consideration of important questions relevant to employment, retirement, inequality, and policy. Who works in different types of self-employment? Does access to a pension, assets, or spousal income or benefits facilitate some individuals obtaining higher quality self-employment arrangements? To what extent does the income from different types of arrangements keep people out of poverty? Are different types of arrangements associated with individuals being happier, healthier, and having more job satisfaction? How does self-employment fit into employment decisions over the life cycle? Better understanding the nature of these jobs and characteristics of the people that hold them is important for identifying disparities in work, income, and well-being.