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New dissertation: self-employment, happiness and international trade

In an upcoming dissertation, Chizheng Miao has studied self-employment, happiness and international trade from an economics perspective. The dissertation consists of three different parts.

In the first part, Chizheng Miao has investigated how the number of foreign-born, particularly from the Middle East, who have become self-employed is affected by the unemployment rate on the local labour market. The study shows that people from the Middle East who are resident in Sweden are more likely to become self-employed at times of recession, which means that external conditions decide whether they become self-employed or not – that is to say, in order to get a job. Chizheng's findings also show that there is a gender difference in self-employment. Women are more affected by non-financial reasons, like family for instance. This shows how important it is to self-employed that the labour market is heterogeneous.

In the second part of the dissertation, Chizheng Miao studies the aspects of self-employment that are not directly linked to money.

"I've looked into differences in quality of life, such as happiness, between employees and self-employed", he explains and continues.

"I chose China for the study since studies focusing on quality of life are not very common in developing countries. The conclusion I came to is that it's not less good to be self-employed in developing countries than to be an employee, when considering quality of life. In addition, my studies indicate that self-employment is chosen freely, not something one has been forced to because of different circumstances.

Therefore, I'd like to point out the importance of using quality-of-life data as a complement when making assessments of working life quality in development countries.

The third and final part deals with the increasing import from China. Miao establishes that neither the salary for employees in the manufacturing industry nor for employees outside it is affected to any significant extent. The salary of low-income earners is not affected at all, while, in fact, a positive impact can be seen on the salaries of middle- and high-income earners. These results imply that the increased import from China will serve as a supplement to Swedish products.

"Despite the fact that the increasing import from China does not affect the level of employment in Sweden to any significant extent, when it comes to salaries, it is still important to be watchful about the potential increase to the income gap between low- and high-income earners that the increasing import from low-income countries may result in", Chizheng Miao concludes.

Chizheng Miao originally comes from China and has studied economics at Uppsala University. He began his doctoral studies at Linnaeus University in 2012.

The defense of the doctoral thesis took place at 13.15 on April 10 in room Weber, Växjö. The title of the dissertation: Essays on self-employment, happiness and international trade


Chizeng Miao,
Carina Sörgårn, communications officer,, +4670-525 87 99