Self-employment and local economic performance: Evidence from US counties

Anil Rupasingha, Stephan J. Goetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


This study explores the relationship between self-employment and income growth, employment growth, and change in poverty in metro and non-metro areas in the United States using county-level panel data. We investigate the impact of the relative size of the self-employment sector measured by the share of non-farm proprietorships (NFPs) in total full and part-time employment on three key economic performance indicators. We first estimate an income growth model to analyse the effects of self-employment on income growth. Then we investigate the independent effects of self-employment on employment growth and changes in family poverty rates. Our results indicate that higher self-employment rates are associated with statistically significant increases over time in income and employment growth, and reductions in poverty rates in non-metro counties. We find similar effects on metro county income and employment, but not on poverty dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-161
Number of pages21
JournalPapers in Regional Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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