Research on Self-Employment in Korea


This section brings together in English the research I conducted about the Korean self-employment sector between 2014 and 2020 for the PhD awarded to me by Hanyang University in 2021. My research has been inaccessible to non-Korean speakers because I published previous studies in Korean-language journals. Therefore, I hope this English content contributes to a wider understanding of the Korean self-employment sector, providing international researchers on self-employment with additional materials on the topic.

The main study section is a translation of the body of my PhD. dissertation. The appendices include ancillary insights on the main study, which content that is generally somewhat older and less developed than the main study. These were also published as appendices in the dissertation. The additional supporting information is new material, taken primarily from my reseach notes and other concepts I have worked on.

I may not continue further research on this topic. If so, my compilation of work here will serve as a logical stopping point for me. On the other hand, I’ll begin future research efforts from this position if my motivation and availability hold out.

Published works

To be eligible to write my dissertation, the department required me to first publish three papers in recognized journals. I was then permitted to integrate and update the research from those papers into the dissertation. These are the papers and the dissertation:

Paper 1 (2017) – “자영업 혼잡의 경제적 영향에 대한 분석: 서비스부분 자영업자와 임금근로자의 소득에 미치는 영향을 중심으로 (Effects of self-employment congestion on the economic outcomes of the self-employed and wage earners in the Korean service sector)”

Paper 2 (2019) – “자영업 혼잡률 개념을 이용한 한국 서비스 자영업 분석 (Analysis of Korean service-sector self-employment using the self-employment congestion rate)”

Paper 3 (2020) – “복수의 기준을 사용한 한국 자영업 영세성 분석 (A multi-criteria study of Korean self-employment weakness”

Ph.D dissertation (2021) – “한국 서비스업의 자영업 영세성 분석: 자영업 혼잡률 개념 중심으로 (Analysis of self-employment weakness in the Korean service sector using the concept of self-employment congestion)”

Main study

Chapter 1 – Introduction

. Section 1 – Need for the study

. Section 2 – Composition of the study

. Section 3 – Academic contribution of the study

Chapter 2 – Self-employment and self-employment weakness

. Section 1 – Self-employment rate overview

. Section 2 – Self-employment weakness overview

. . 2.2.1. Weakness of the self-employment sector overall
. . 2.2.2. Weakness of the weak self-employment sub-sector

. Section 3 – Factors of self-employment weakness

. . 2.3.1. Individual characteristics factors
. . 2.3.2. Structural factors
. . 2.3.3. Miscellaneous factors

. Section 4 – Characteristics of Korean self-employment weakness

Chapter 3 – Weak self-employment and self-employment congestion

. Section 1 – Criteria of weak self-employment

. . 3.1.1. Start-up motivation
. . 3.1.2. Organizational size
. . 3.1.3. Financial performance
. . 3.1.4. Business type
. . 3.1.5. Other

. Section 2 – Weak self-employment

. Section 3 – Self-employment congestion

. Section 4 – Comparative analysis of the self-employment congestion rate and self-employment rate

Chapter 4 – Changes in Korean weak self-empployment

. Section 1 – Size

. Section 2 – Composition

. Section 3 – Financial performance

Chapter 5 – Economic impact of Korean weak self-employment

. Section 1 – Impact by worker status

. Section 2 – Impact by innovation type

Chapter 6 – Conclusion

. Section 1 – Summary of the study results

. Section 2 – Significance and implications of the study

. Section 3 – Limitations of the study and future study directions


Other supporting information

Glossary of self-employment terminology