Small Business Economics

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 751–770 | Cite as

Self-employment and parental leave

  • Dominique Anxo
  • Thomas Ericson


The main objective of this paper is to analyse the extent to which self-employment in Sweden has an impact on the use of parental leave. Our results show that during the child’s first 2 years, Swedish female self-employed use on average 46 fewer days of parental leave (15 %) than female wage earners, while male self-employed use on average 27 fewer days of parental leave (71 %) than their wage earner counterparts. We argue that the shorter average duration of parental leave among male self-employed is due both to relatively higher costs of absence and to a parental leave participation effect where some male self-employed with high performance-related income do not take parental leave at all. Given that all mothers take parental leave independently of employment status, we do not find any significant parental leave participation effect for female self-employed. Instead, we find a significant employment selection effect where women with high performance-related income choose self-employment explaining the shorter average duration of parental leave among female self-employed.


Parental leave Employment status Gender equality Sweden Self-employment 

JEL Classifications

J13 J16 J21 J22 L26 



We like to thank Andreas Mångs for excellent research assistance. Comments and suggestions by seminar participants at the Linnaeus University and two anonymous referees are gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This Study was funded by The Swedish Social Insurance Agency, grant number 25214-2010.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and StatisticsLinnaeus UniversityVäxjöSweden

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