Work-Life Expectancy for the Self-Employed

Spizman, Lawrence M. 1998. “Work-Life Expectancy for the Self-Employed.” The Earnings Analyst¬† 1: 81-90.


Work-life expectancy in personal injury or wrongful death cases has received considerable attention by forensic economists and vocational rehabilitation experts. The discussion revolves around whether the broad average work-life expectancy tables generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) should be used or whether other measures are more appropriate. While alternative work-life expectancy estimates raise important issues, the gains of these methods must be weighed against the cost of possibly alienating a jury with academic rigor that may be misconstrued as “ivory tower” babble. The purpose of this paper is to explore characteristics of the self-employed that may lead to differences in work-life expectancies from the general population. It may be inappropriate to solely use BLS work-life expectancies for self-employed individuals.


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