Investment Banking

Topics: Big Five personality traits, Trait theory, Openness to experience Pages: 126 (23732 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Journal of Management

Sticking It Out : Individual Attributes and Persistence in Self-Employment Pankaj C. Patel and Sherry M. B. Thatcher
Journal of Management published online 15 May 2012
DOI: 10.1177/0149206312446643
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Journal of Management
Vol. XX No. X, Month XXXX xx-xx
DOI: 10.1177/0149206312446643
© The Author(s) 2012
Reprints and permission: http://www.

Sticking It Out: Individual Attributes and
Persistence in Self-Employment
Pankaj C. Patel
Ball State University

Sherry M. B. Thatcher
University of Louisville

There is evidence that individual attributes play an important role in self-employment entrance decisions. Drawing on the personality, psychological well-being, and goal attainment literature, the authors ask, What individual attributes are associated with persistence in self-employment? First, they theoretically develop the concept of self-employment persistence and then empirically assess the effects of individual attributes on self-employment persistence, while including the baseline effects of these individual attributes on self-employment entrance. They use a semiparametric, reduced-form, multiple-state transition model and control for demographic and social determinants. Using employment history data of a cohort of 2,839 individuals from 1957 to 2004, the authors find that openness to experience, autonomy, and tenacious goal pursuit increase persistence in self-employment, whereas neuroticism reduces persistence in selfemployment. They discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the findings. Keywords:

self-employment; Big Five personality traits; psychological well-being; individual attributes; goal pursuit

Acknowledgments: This research uses data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 1991, the WLS has been supported principally by the National Institute on Aging (AG9775, AG-21079, and AG-033285), with additional support from the Vilas Estate Trust, the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A public use file of data from the WLS is available from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, University of WisconsinMadison, 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706, and at The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors.

Corresponding author: Sherry M. B. Thatcher, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, College of Business, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA E-mail:


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Journal of Management / Month XXXX

Over the past several decades, research has shown that self-employment is central to economic growth and job creation (Carlsson, Acs, Audretsch, & Braunerhjelm, 2009). A selfemployed individual derives residual income through active involvement in a going concern such as a trade or a business (Reid, 1962). Relatedly, entrepreneurs engage in “the discovery, evaluation, and exploitation of future goods and services . . . [by] creation or identification of new ends and means previously...
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