Self-Employment and the Okun's Law

Porras-Arena, M. S., & Martín-Román, Á. L. (2019). Self-employment and the Okun's law. Economic Modelling, 77, 253-265.


This research establishes a significant relationship between the share of self-employment in total employment and the Okun's coefficient, which had been insufficiently addressed in the literature. We provide evidence on the determinants driving the differences in the unemployment–output relationship in Spanish regions and conclude that the differences in the share of self-employment in total employment prove relevant when accounting for differences in Okun's law, and its effect is greater than that of labour productivity per worker, which had been considered the main factor for regional discrepancies. The economic policy implications of this outcome are valuable for two reasons: European authorities are promoting self-employment and the emergence of the ‘gig economy’. This finding also opens a notable line of research: assessing whether this empirical regularity is observable in other economies.

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