Self-employment is reemerging in modern society. Many scholars attribute this trend to globalization, flexible employment, and the rise of female labor force participation. However, such observations tend to be constrained by oversimplification and insufficient micro-level data. Although women's share of total self-employment significantly increased during the last decades of twentieth century in many post-industrial economies, one of the unanswered questions is whether the mechanism of becoming self-employed differs between women and men and thus results in different outcomes. To address these issues, this study provides a unique natural-experiment to examine the generality of findings in the self-employment literature and the validity of interpretations derived from single-nation studies. This project uses event history analysis to study the effects of individual and structural factors on Taiwanese and Korean self-employment from a career dynamic perspective. Data from the Taiwan Social Change Survey (1996) and the Investigation on Korean Social Change (1997) are analyzed to identify the differential determinants of entry into and exit from self-employment for men and women and the differences in these processes between the two countries. Results show that, the unemployment rate plays a stronger role in self-employment decisions in Taiwan than in Korea. Marriage and the presence of pre-school aged children influence entry into self-employment and paid work in both countries. For women, the marriage bar in the labor market is greater in Korea than in Taiwan. Facing less flexible labor market conditions, married women in Korea are more likely to be pushed into self-employment than their counterparts in Taiwan. In addition, this study also compares earnings and job satisfaction between self-employed and wage workers. One of the common findings across different chapters is that under more flexible labor market structure, Taiwanese men are more eager to open their own business than their counterparts in Korea. In sum, this cross-national comparison of self-employment sheds light on differences in national development strategies that shape the gender gap in individual's career choices.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Chicago, Dept. of Sociology, 2006.