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Stars and Misfits: Self-Employment and Labor Market Frictions

By Thomas Astebro, Jing Chen and Peter Thompson

Abstract

Recent evidence has shown that entrants into self-employment are disproportionately drawn from the tails of the earnings and ability distributions. This observation is explained by a multi-task model of occupational choice in which frictions in the labor market induces mismatches between firms and workers, and mis-assignment of workers to tasks. The model also yields distinctive predictions relating prior work histories to earnings and to the probability of entry into self-employment. These predictions are tested with the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study, from which we find considerable support for the model.entreprenuership; self-employment; jack-of-all trades; skill complementarity

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