Self-employment and the paradox of the contented female worker

Keith A. Bender, Kristen Roche

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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 wage 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-435
Number of pages15
JournalSmall Business Economics
Early online date5 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • job satisfaction
  • self-employment
  • gender differences
  • job attributes
  • Paradox of the contented female worker


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