Self-employment and the paradox of the contented female worker

Research paper by Keith A. Bender, Kristen Roche

Indexed on: 06 Apr '16Published on: 05 Apr '16Published in: Small Business Economics


A large literature finds that the self-employed are more satisfied in their jobs. Interestingly, like in the wage and salary sector, ceteris paribus, self-employed women are found to have more satisfaction in their jobs than self-employed men, even though the gender earnings differential is higher for the self-employed. This paper examines the so-called paradox of the contented female worker for both sectors, focusing on the importance of certain job attributes and whether workers actually experience these attributes. Properly controlling for the gap between desiring and actually obtaining these attributes ‘explains’ the gender differential in job satisfaction of the self-employed.