Self-employed but looking: A labour market experiment

Philipp D. Koellinger, Julija N. Mell, Irene Pohl, Christian Roessler, Theresa Treffers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We examine whether having previously been self-employed is a negative signal on the job market. In a UK field experiment where two applications of otherwise equally qualified individuals were sent out in response to the same vacancies in human resource management, we find that entrepreneurs systematically receive fewer responses than non-entrepreneurs. Empirical studies that treat market wages as the opportunity cost of remaining self-employed are therefore likely to overestimate alternative earnings to entrepreneurship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-161
Number of pages25
Issue number325
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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