NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Horatio Alger Meets the Mobility Tables

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Harvey S. Rosen, Robert Weathers

NBER Working Paper No. 7619
Issued in March 2000
NBER Program(s):   PE

The question of how entrepreneurship relates to income mobility is cogent given the current public debate about the sources of income inequality and mobility in United States society. We examine how experience with entrepreneurship has affected an individual's place in the earnings distribution. Our basic tack is to follow individuals' positions in the income distribution over time, and to see how their mobility (or lack thereof) was affected by involvement with entrepreneurship. Our main finding is that for low-income individuals there is some merit to the notion that the self-employed moved ahead in the earnings distribution relative to those who remained wage earners. On the other hand, for those at the upper end of the earnings distribution, those who became self-employed often advanced less in the earnings distribution than their salaried counterparts.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7619

Published: Small Business Economics, edited by Zoltan J. Acs and David B. Audretch, vol. 14, no.4, pp.243-274, June, 2000. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

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