August 2008

IZA DP No. 3644: Businesswomen in Germany and Their Performance by Ethnicity: It Pays to Be Self-Employed

Amelie F. Constant

published in: International Journal of Manpower, 2009, 30 (1-2), 145-162

In this paper I assert that the entrepreneurial spirit can also exist in salaried jobs. I study the determinants of wages and the labor market success of two kinds of entrepreneurial women in Germany – self-employed and salaried businesswomen – and investigate whether ethnicity is important in these challenging jobs. Employing data from the German Socioeconomic Panel I estimate selection adjusted wage regressions for both types of businesswomen by country of origin. I find that self-employment offers businesswomen a lucrative avenue with higher monetary rewards, albeit for a shorter spell. If salaried businesswomen went into self-employment, they would receive considerably higher wages and for at least 30 years. However, if self-employed businesswomen went into salaried jobs, their wages would decline, suggesting that it is the self-employment sector that offers better opportunities and monetary success. Self-employed women in Germany fare well and most importantly, success does not depend on their ethnicity.