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Tervo, Hannu
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
54th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regional development & globalisation: Best practices", 26-29 August 2014, St. Petersburg, Russia
Age is an important factor in entrepreneurship. The paths into entrepreneurship at a later age may be varied. Self-employment in later life may be either a form of partial retirement or a career option. Older individuals may also be pushed into self-employment. The focus of this paper is on the career choices of older individuals and their background motivations in Finland. The purpose is to analyse the factors and motives in terms of the push and pull dichotomy that lead individuals to enter self-employment at older ages in different types of labour markets in Finland, viz., rural and urban areas. Although some studies have focused on transitions to self-employment among older workers, questions about the motives and particularly about the background and circumstances of these people, including the regional environment, still need clarification. A large longitudinal data set is utilised to examine the transitions of individuals aged 55-74 to self-employment. The results suggest that due to a lower level of demand and lower educational capital, self-employment is less tempting in rural than in urban areas. As a result, transitions to self-employment at older ages are less frequent in rural areas than in urban areas, although rural areas have strong traditions of entrepreneurship. Seniors with prior experience are more likely to start a business in urban areas: habitual entrepreneurship is more frequent in urban areas, at least in later life. Older workers without prior experience in self-employment, however, start businesses in rural areas as likely as in urban areas. The results also show that most enter self-employment from paid employment, though a small number do enter from non-employment. The results suggest that a career option is often linked with transitions from wage work, whereas those transitioning from non-employment seek a bridge to full retirement. No sharp division between these two options can be made, however. The results suggest that those who are recognised to possess pull motives are characterised to be more likely male and/or highly educated, whereas those who are recognised to possess push motives are more likely female, unmarried and/or less educated with an orientation of business education. An interesting finding is that both necessity- and opportunity-driven self-employed have prior self-employment experience. Independent of whether entrepreneurship is necessity- or opportunity-driven, it is most likely habitual.
third age
rural and urban regions
habitual and novice entrepreneurship
necessity vs. opportunity
Document Type: 
Conference Paper

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