Date of Award

Fall 12-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Edward Sayre

Committee Chair School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 2

Dr. Joseph St. Marie

Committee Member 2 School

Coastal Resilience

Committee Member 3

Dr. Robert Pauly

Committee Member 3 School

Coastal Resilience

Committee Member 4

Dr. Joseph Weinberg

Committee Member 4 School

Social Science and Global Studies


This dissertation research identifies the factors that affect self-employment in a three-essay format. Essay one builds a foundation on analyzing the determinants that affect self-employment in the United States through a country-level time-series analysis. Essay two includes a time-series panel analysis and comparative analysis between the United States and United Kingdom by expanding on Meager’s (1992) study of the relationship between unemployment and self-employment. This analysis focuses on the United Kingdom, an outlier in Meager’s (1992) study, which included a structural change to the motivation to enter self-employment after an economic shock in the late 1970s. Essay three utilizes a time-series analysis to assess self-employment and its relationship to entrepreneurship on a global scale. This analysis assesses and compares the structure of the current Global Entrepreneurial Model data from 2002 - 2018 and includes 2009 as an indicator variable to determine if the 2007-2008 global financial crisis was, in fact, a shock.

This research adds to the literature on determining who the self-employed are, what factors affect the decision to enter self-employment, if the structure of the self-employment decision changes after a shock, and utilizes these studies to prescribe policy related to self-employment after a shock (COVID-19 as an example). It is found that the profile of the self-employed is increasingly female but is still dominated by males and getting younger in countries other than the Unites States, where they are still close to or in retirement age. The motivation to enter self-employment is more likely to be out of necessity, even when entrepreneurial aspirations are high, and occurs more in less developed countries. However, it is noted that continuation through the entrepreneurial process to established business owner is more prominent in more developed countries. Personal income or access to funding is not a significant factor when there are government policies in place to provide funding to those seeking to start a business. Additionally, it is determined that negative shocks to the economy can change the structure of the motivation to enter self-employment. Therefore, providing government policies in light of these economic hardships can increase entrance to self-employment.