A ‘second and half’ pillar for the self-employed?
The self-employed, on average, represent a group that holds more wealth than wage earners, that retires later, that bears more risk, and that has less access to insurance. This characterization masks important heterogeneity. The number of self-employed persons has been rising over time during the past decade, in a few countries, among which the Netherlands. How these people will retire, and to what extent policy can or should act to help them retire, is a set of issues that is not well understood.
We argue that an assessment needs to take a comprehensive view of (intertemporal) labour market and financial behaviour of the self-employed, and take into account the heterogeneity within the group. The present proposal aims at deepening our understanding of choices made, the constraints under which the self-employed operate, and how their preferences can be characterized. We emphasize implications for policy issues and institutional design. The empirical work we propose uses novel and unique data sources from the Netherlands. The data combine information from administrative records and internet surveys among self-employed entrepreneurs (EIM Panel). For the latter, we have the unique possibility of feeding new questions to the respondents.