From unemployment to self-employment: Can enterprise policy intensify the risks of poverty?

Mike Danson, Laura Galloway, Mohamed Sherif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
106 Downloads (Pure)


Analysis of the large rise in the numbers of self-employed in the UK reveals high levels of in-work poverty, especially among those coming off of social security benefits. Policies that are developed to alleviate social and economic risk regularly lead to behavioural responses to perceptions about the nature of such risk and to make individuals more accountable. Informed by accounting, finance and economic theories of risk, interviews with key informants who are experiencing self-employment and poverty, along with professionals from business and community development and poverty alleviation, are used to explore the support available to new entrepreneurs. Findings include that policy push from unemployment to self-employment shifts the social risks and responsibilities of employment from state and employers to those individuals with least capacity to bear them. Measures to mitigate resource disadvantage, including the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme, are found to be wanting and inadequate for the main client groups, and fail to reduce the social and economic risks faced in starting up a new business.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102164
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date12 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Accountability
  • In-work poverty
  • Self-employment
  • Social risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Information Systems and Management


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