# 15-047/VII (2015-04-14)

Jolanda Hessels, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization (EHERO), Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands; José María Millán, University of Huelva, Spain; Concepción Román, University of Huelva, Spain
entrepreneurship, self-employment, employers, own-account workers, work satisfaction
JEL codes:
J24, J28, L26, O52

Self-employed workers can be own-account workers who control their own work or employers who not only are their own boss but also direct others (their employees). We expect both types of self-employed, i.e., own-account workers and employers, to enjoy more independence in determining their work content (type of work) and more flexibility in shaping their work context (e.g., working conditions) compared to paid employees and hence to be more satisfied with their work. Furthermore, we suspect that employers (who can delegate work to their employees and can help them to develop and grow) enjoy even higher levels of work satisfaction compared to both own-account workers (who are their own boss but do not give direction to others) and (non-supervisory) paid employees (who have to obey orders from others within organizational hierarchies). While prior studies typically broadly compare the work satisfaction of self-employed and paid employees, we distinguish employers from own-account workers within the group of self-employed using data from the ECHP for 14 European countries. Our findings indeed show that employers are significantly more satisfied with their work than both own-account workers and paid employees. Additionally, while employers as well as own-account workers enjoy greater procedural utility than (non-supervisory) paid employees stemming from the content and the context of their work, there also seems to be an additional work satisfaction premium for employers.