Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1200: Avoiding the Housewife Stigma: Self-Employment as a Female Career Choice

Carl Magnus Bjuggren () and Magnus Henrekson ()
Additional contact information
Carl Magnus Bjuggren: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Magnus Henrekson: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper investigates career choices of women who marry high-income men. We find that women married to men in the top of the income distribution are more likely to enter self-employment, which is also associated with a lower income. This can be interpreted as a career choice that produces a more flexible work schedule in return for lower income. In a Nordic welfare state where work is the norm for women, self-employment offers a way to avoid the stay-at-home stigma. It allows one to stay in the workforce while enjoying approval from society and being in control of one’s work schedule and personal demands.

Keywords: Career choice; Entrepreneurship; Marriage; Self-employment; Women

JEL-codes: J12; J13; J16; J22; L26

42 pages, First version: February 12, 2018. Revised: March 15, 2018.

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