Entrepreneurship among the elderly beneficial

People who run businesses in the end of their working lives experience a higher quality of life, especially compared to people who have stopped working. Entrepreneurs are also more satisfied with their jobs than employees.

Economists Mats Hammarstedt and Lina Aldén present the results from their research project "Entreprenörskap efter pensionering – ett sätt att främja livskvalitet?" [Entrepreneurship after retirement – a way to promote quality of life after retirement?] in a debate article in Dagens Nyheter. The project has studied perceived quality of life among people aged 61 or older who run businesses.

A majority of the respondents answered that they were active as entrepreneurs because they saw their enterprising as a hobby. But many also stated financial reasons, low income from pension was one reason for being active as an entrepreneur. The study also provided interesting results concerning the level of satisfaction among those were entrepreneurs and those who were employees respectively. A larger share of those who were entrepreneurs were satisfied with their jobs and also felt that their jobs were less mentally strenuous and less stressful.

What is more, the study shows that entrepreneurs have a higher perceived quality of life than both employees and people who have stopped working. The differences presented by the researchers exist also when making comparisons between people with the same level of education, health and family situation. The results from the study highlight the importance of the individual being able to affect the conditions for being active on the labour market in the end of his or her working life.

In their study, the researchers have come to the conclusion that people who have the opportunity in the end of their working life to be active on the labour market on their own conditions are more satisfied with life than those who are not given that opportunity. Therefore, stimulating entrepreneurship among the elderly who have the opportunity to start a business can be an effective way to increase labor supply and reduce the strain on the pension system while at the same time improving the quality of life of the elderly.

"If you want to stimulate entrepreneurship among the elderly, you should consider introducing different measures that can make it easier for the elderly to be active on the labour market as entrepreneurs. Quite often, there are discussions on how to stimulate entrepreneurship among different groups in society. Special action programmes have been aimed towards youth, foreign-born people and women. There is good reason to change this. An increase in entrepreneurship among the elderly would have an obvious beneficial effect for society as well as for the elderly entrepreneurs", says Mats Hammarstedt and Lina Aldén.

Read the full report