The analysis is focused on those who have self-employment as their main source of income. The database covers the period 2003-2014 with comparable data, where we use complete panel data to analyze the propensity to start and maintain self-employment.
People with self-employment as their main source of income made up just above 7 per cent of the employed in 2008 (4,8 per cent among immigrants) and barely 6 per cent in 2014 (4,5 per cent among immigrants), which is lower than in other European countries. Immigrants made up approximately 10 per cent of the self-employed in Norway in 2014, up from just above 5 per cent in 2008.
There are more men than women among the self-employed. Self-employed labor migrants are increasing the most. Older self-employed people make up a higher share of total employment than middle-aged and younger people, while self-employed people with low education, upper secondary vocational education and long higher education make up the highest share of total employment.
The share of self-employed immigrants in the employment is high in Construction, Transportation and storage, Accommodation and food service activities, Real estate, professional, scientific and technical activities, Other service activities, Administrative and support service activities and in Human health and social work activities.
These industries are also important for immigrants' recruitment into self-employment. Men show higher recruitment to self-employment than women, and people with many years of higher education strengthen their position in recruitment to self-employment among both immigrants and Norwegian-born persons.
There are high shares of self-employed in the employment in families with two adults without children. Among immigrants also those from families with children both under and especially above 18 years are important, especially with regards to recruitment for self-employment. This may indicate that help from other family members may be important.
In the maintenance of self-employment in the period 2008-2014, a u-shaped curve appears, where those who maintain their business activity for only one year and throughout the entire seven-year period make up the two largest groups, but where the last is larger than the first. Self-employed immigrants with an unspecified reason of immigration, working immigrants, Nordic immigrants and natives are best in terms of maintaining self-employment. Family immigrants and Norwegian-born with immigrant parents come out the weakest, while refugees end up roughly in the middle between the other groups.
The shares of self-employed of total employment are falling with increased centrality. Refugees stand out in that employment rates are higher in the most central municipalities. Immigrants make up a higher proportion of the self-employed than of the population in the most central and least central municipalities, while this relationship is reversed in somewhat central and less central municipalities.
There is a tendency among immigrants that self-employed persons' employment shares rise with increasing length of residence. This also applies to the recruitment and retention of immigrants.
The results provide partial support for the hypothesis that the propensity to start self-employment is high among those with a more marginal position in the labor market and low wages, but there is an increasing proportion of people with high wages and long higher education who become self-employed, also among immigrants.