Literature review

There is a substantial amount of research on developments in self-employment, characteristics of self-employed persons and their businesses, and the attitudes and behaviour of the self-employed. The existing literature on when, who and why people decide to become self-employed without personnel, as well as an overview of relevant background statistics, is presented in Chapter 2 of the project report.


Panel data analyses

Over the years many studies have focused on different characteristics of the group of self-employed. These studies have resulted in a number of important insights, yet there are still many gaps left in our knowledge, especially about transitions into and out of self-employment from a life course perspective. Based on secondary panel data analyses, Chapter 3 of the project report addresses characteristics of self-employed without personnel in Germany and the Netherlands in terms of:

  • Labour market transitions;
  • Consequences of entry into and exit from self-employment;
  • Consequences of self-employment experience;
  • The role of earlier life experience


A survey among self-employed without personnel: between freedom and insecurity

Within the research project “Self-employed without personnel: between freedom and insecurity”, a questionnaire was developed to provide more insight into the attitudes and behaviour of self-employed without personnel. One of the main objectives underlying the questionnaire was to find out: What is the position in the two countries under study of self-employed without personnel in terms of their motives to become self-employed, their work-family balance, their relations with colleagues, competitors and clients and their remuneration? What are the views and behaviour of solo self-employed towards social security and pension savings? And – according to self-employed without personnel – what can governments do to stimulate adequate savings behaviour? The results are presented in Chapter 4 of the project report  (in progress; see the Intermediate report.


Interviews with self-employed without personnel: decision-making processes

The qualitative part of the study aims to get to a holistic understanding of specific decision-making processes that participants are involved in in the phases prior to and while self-employed. First, the qualitative study aims to improve our understanding of the decision to become self-employed without personnel by examining the influence of character, earlier life experiences and expectations. The second objective is to evaluate the decision to become self-employed without personnel: to what extent and in what areas has the self-employment job met prior expectations? Third, the study aims at generating more insight into the decisions to participate in pension saving schemes and social insurances of self-employed without personnel. The results are presented in Chapter 5 of the project report.