Older male workers may opt for self-employment by choice, whereas older female workers may seek self-employment because of financial necessity, say researchers.
Self-employment can allow older workers to stay in the labor market longer and earn additional income, yet little research has addressed if reasons for self-employment vary across gender and culture.
Now, University of Missouri researchers have studied factors that contribute to self-employment and found these factors differ for men and women in the United States and New Zealand.
The study's lead author Angela Curl survey data from the 2010 Health and Retirement Study of U.S. adults and the New Zealand Longitudinal Study of Aging and found that men in each country were more likely than women to be self-employed.
Curl said this result could reflect a greater willingness of men to take on risks associated with self-employment, a larger savings to buffer business losses or failures, or more opportunities for men to engage in entrepreneurial ventures.
In both countries, female workers who were self-employed appeared to have fewer economic resources, were less likely to receive pensions and were less likely to have employed spouses.
These findings may suggest that older male workers may choose self-employment whereas women may be forced into self-employment because of financial necessity, Curl said.
The study will be published in the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare.