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Lauren Bari

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Dr. Tom Turner & Dr. Michelle O’Sullivan
Working Title of Thesis: 
Choices and constraints in self-employment: Does gender make a difference?

Using two nationally-representative datasets, the EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions and the Labour Force Survey, I examine gender differences within freelance or solo self-employment in Ireland. Through the opposing theoretical frameworks of rational choice and structural constraint I address the overarching hypotheses: that inequalities in the wider labour market are reflected, or exacerbated, in self-employment.

While the gender gap in entrepreneurial activity and business creation is well known, less is known about gender differences within self-employment itself. With its potential for increased self-direction and flexibility, self-employment offers a unique case study through which to examine issues relating to gendered divisions of labour and the impact of human capital ‘choice’ and structural ‘constraint’ on self-employed women in the Irish context. As such, this research hopes to contribute to discussions on work-life balance, flexibility, gender and precarious work.

Statistical methodologies and large sample sizes are utilised to enable a thorough investigation of the research questions. In Part 1 a series of binary logistic regression models are tested to examine the determinants of self-employment and the extent to which there are gender differences in the impact of human capital and household/labour flexibility factors. Part 2 uses bivariate and multivariate linear models to examine the extent of, and impacts to, earnings differentials between self-employed men and women.

Employment, Gender, Labour Market Inequality, Precarious Work.
Details of any scholarships/funding received: 
Awarded the Deans Scholarship 2014 - 2018
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