Self-employed but in large firm?

Hi Tim –

I have been using CLASSWKR to identify self employed workers (CLASSWKR=13 or =14). I just ran a cross-tab using FIRMSIZE and see that both incorporated and non-incorporated self-employed workers vary across firm size. While most are at firms with fewer than 10 employees, a substantial number have 50, 100, and even 1000+ employees. This is extremely surprising to me, so perhaps I don’t have the right understanding of what constitutes a “self-employed” respondent.

My question: How are respondents who select 13 or 14 for CLASSWKR different from those who select 21- 23? Is it that they themselves are the business owner/partner of company X? And all other employees in that same company X would identify themselves as CLASSWKR 21, 22 or 23?

Hope this makes sense, and thanks in advance for your help.

If you look at the variable description for FIRMSIZE, you will see that self-employed are asked the number of people who worked for the respondent. This indicates that your initial guess was correct. But the number with very large firms (>1000 employees) is suspiciously large. You might want to cross check with occupation. Owners are likely going to list a management occupation. If the firm size is large and their occupation doesn’t fit with a firm owner, the respondent might not have understood the question. Unfortunately no direct question on ownership of the company is available in the public use files.