Self-employment and the southern European social model: a reflection based upon the Portuguese case
Sociology School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester/CAPP-ISCSP, Technical University of Lisbon Lisboa, Portugal
The empirical relevance of self-employment in several advanced economies has been recognized in the last few decades. This has been especially true in relation to the four southern European countries (Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain). In addition, several analyses have highlighted that the high levels of self-employment observed among these countries stem from some of the features that bring them together in the literature on the southern European pattern of employment. Among these, stand the relatively small structure of enterprises, familialism and the high level of informal economy that characterise the south European countries.
With this presentation, the author intends to reflect on the contribution that analysing self-employment in the southern European countries can give to the discussion of the employment regime typically associated with the southern European social model. The reflection starts with a discussion of the southern European social model, its elements and current pertinence as an analytical tool to better understand institutional diversity among the European landscape. Then it explores the stocks, recent evolution and characteristics of self-employment in the southern European countries, with a special reference to Portugal and its institutional context. Finally, it discusses the role that self-employment might play in the development of the employment regime that currently characterise the southern European social model.