Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
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Poverty Among Self-Employed Businesspeople in a Rich Country: A Misunderstood and Distinct Reality
Vol. Volume 10, Number 3 December/2005

Johan Lambrecht and Ellen Beens

The article studies poverty among self-employed businesspeople in a rich country, Belgium Existing research on self-employment income, compared with income of employees, has made clear that self-employed have a higher probability of falling in the lowest income groups and that there is a distinct self-employment effect. Our findings for Belgium show that approximately one quarter of those who are self-employed in their main occupation are living below the poverty line. We also confirm findings reported in the literature that income distribution among self-employed people is very unequal. It appears from our qualitative findings that poverty among self-employed businesspeople is something distinct from other forms of poverty. Several factors can cause self-employed businesspeople to end up in poverty. As a result, poverty is a multifaceted problem. Policy recommendations are formulated to prevent and combat poverty among self-employed businesspeople.

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