This paper shows that utility differences between the self-employed and employees increase with financial development. This effect is explained not by increased profits but by an increased value of nonmonetary benefits, in particular job independence. We interpret these findings by building a simple occupational choice model in which financial constraints may impede the creation of firms and depress labor demand, thereby pushing some individuals into self-employment for lack of salaried jobs. In this setting, financial development favors a better matching between individual motivation and occupation, thereby increasing entrepreneurial utility despite increasing competition and so reducing profits.

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