Self-employment transitions among older American workers with career jobs

Michael D. Giandrea, Kevin E. Cahill, Joseph F. Quinn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


What role does self-employment play in the retirement process? Older Americans are staying in the labor force longer than prior trends would have predicted and many change jobs later in life. These job transitions are often within the same occupation or across occupations within wageand-salary employment. The transition can also be out of wage-and-salary work and into self-employment. Indeed, national statistics show that self-employment becomes more prevalent with age, partly because self-employment provides older workers with opportunities not found in traditional wage-and-salary jobs, such as flexibility in hours worked and independence. This paper analyzes transitions into and out of self-employment among older workers who have had career jobs. We utilize the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally-representative dataset of older Americans, to investigate the prevalence of self-employment among older workers who made a job transition later in life and to explore the factors that determine the choice of wage-and-salary employment or self-employment. We find that postcareer transitions into and out of self-employment are common and that health status, career occupation, and financial variables are important determinants of these transitions. As older Americans and the country as a whole face financial strains in retirement income in the years ahead, self-employment may be a vital part of the pro-work solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDynamics of Self-Employment Among Older Workers
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9781633218413
ISBN (Print)9781633218239
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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