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Financial Capital, Human Capital, and Self-Employment in the UK

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Why become self-employed and what are the key factors causing the utility from self-employment to exceed that from paid employment? Mark Taylor (1996) has shown that higher expected earnings in self-employment relative to paid employment are a major attraction. The independence and freedom offered by self-employment are clearly appealing. However, there are those who desire job security and therefore prefer paid employment. Ajayi-Obe and Parker (2005) mentioned that “the self-employed enjoy a non-pecuniary benefit from work itself (e.g., independence) that makes a given amount of work in that occupation relatively less unattractive than the same amount of work would be in paid employment”. Schmitz (1989) presents a model in which endogenous entrepreneurial activity is the key determinant of economic growth. The theory also differs from standard model in that growth is driven by the imitative activities of entrepreneurs.

Evans & Leighton (1989) found liquidity constraints play a role when setting up a firm, as the availability of capital is a significant barrier to self-employment. However, the human capital model indicates that the more educated and skilled self-employed are likely to find it easier to raise external finance for their business. Therefore, Cressy (1996) has argued human capital and not finance is the main constraint on self-employment. This project will test whether financial capital and/or human capital is the main constrain of self-employment in the UK.

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity.


Ajayi-Obe, O. and Parker S.C. 2005 The Changing Nature of Work among the Self-employed in the 1990s: Evidence from Britain, Journal of Labour Research, 26 (3): 501-507
Cressy, R 1996 Are Business Start-ups Debt-Rationed? The Economic Journal, 106 (438): 1253-70
Evans, D S & Leighton, L S 1989 Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship, American Economic Review, 79 (3): 519-35
Schmitz J. A. Jr. 1989 Imitation, Entrepreneurship, and Long-Run Growth, The Journal of Political Economy, 97 (3): 721 – 739
Taylor M. P. 1996 Earnings, independence or unemployment: why become self-employed? Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 58(2): 253-267

Related Subjects

How good is research at Nottingham Trent University in Business and Management Studies?

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