Gain or loss? The well-being of women in self-employment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using data from the Chinese Household Income Project survey, we find that self-employed women have lower levels of well-being compared with their male counterparts. When comparing individuals' well-being in self-employment and wage-employment, we discover that self-employed men have higher levels of health, the standard of living, satisfaction, and life satisfaction compared with wage-employed men, whereas self-employed women have lower levels of health and life satisfaction than their counterparts in wage-employment. Furthermore, if a given self-employed man or woman had been selected for wage employment, their well-being would not improve (controlling for individual characteristics that affect the likelihood to enter self-employment). Hence, self-employed women face a double challenge: lower well-being than both self-employed men and wage-employed women. The article discusses recommendations for future research and policy implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number986288
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - Sep 16 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the editor and two referees for their helpful comments. Xinyu Zhao provided excellent research assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Xiu and Ren.


  • entrepreneurship
  • gender
  • gender equality
  • self-employment
  • well-being

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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