Pushed into necessity? Labor market inequality and entrepreneurship of disadvantaged group

Theoretical literature on entrepreneurship hints that labor market inequality may constitute a relevant push factor for necessity self-employment, as opposed to aspirational self-employment. Drawing on empirical confirmation, this insight is used in many policy recommendations. We provide a new approach to test and quantify the link between labor market inequality and self-employment. We exploit rich and diverse international data on patterns of self-employment from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. We focus on measures of labor market inequality for women, utilizing estimates of adjusted gender wage and gender employment gap, comparable for a large selection of countries and years. Our results show that greater gender disparities in access to and in compensation for wage employment are associated with necessity self-employment, but the effect is small. We find no link for the aspirational self-employment.