Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 365: Determinants of self-employment among commuters and non-commuters

Mikaela Backman () and Charlie Karlsson ()
Additional contact information
Mikaela Backman: Centre for Entrepreneurship and Spatial Economics (CEnSE) Center for Science and Innovation Studies (CESIS), Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping, Sweden, Postal: Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Charlie Karlsson: Centre for Entrepreneurship and Spatial Economics (CEnSE) Center for Science and Innovation Studies (CESIS), Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping, Sweden, Postal: Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: In this paper, we analyse the determinants of the decision to become self-employed among commuters and non-commuters. In the entrepreneurship literature it is claimed that the rich-ness and quality of an individual’s business, professional and social networks play an im-portant role for the decision to become self-employed. People that commute between localities in the same region or between localities in different regions will most proba¬bly be able to develop richer personal networks than non-commuters, since they can develop network links both in the locality where they live and in the locality where they work. In this paper, we test this hypothesis using micro-data for around three million individuals in Sweden. As far as we know, this is the first time this hypothesis is tested. In our empirical analysis, we make a distinction between three groups of individuals: non-com¬muters, intra-regions commuter and inter-region commuters. For each of this groups we test how the probability of becoming self-employed is influenced by a number of characteristics of individuals, characteristics of home and work localities and regions. Our results indicate a significant difference between non-commuters and commuters in terms of the role of networks for becoming self-employed. On the one hand, we find for non-commuters that living and working in a locality with rich business networks reduce the probability of becoming self-employed. For commuters, on the other hand we find that working in a locality with rich business networks increase the probability to become self-employed. In this latter case, living in a municipality with rich business networks has a non-significant effect on the probability of becoming self-employed. Our results indicate that it is the business networks where people work, rather than where they live that exerts a positive influence on the probability of becoming self-employed.

Keywords: entrepreneurship; individual attributes; regional attributes; networks; micro-level data

JEL-codes: C21; J24; L26; R12

28 pages, May 21, 2014

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