Transmission of liberal professions from parents to children

Using university administrative and survey data, MiSoC researcher Nicoletti (with Aina) has investigated the transition of students from the university to the labour market and studied the transmission of liberal professions from parents to children. The researchers explain the occupational transmission by looking at the transfer from parent to children of human capital, financial resources, job preferences and attitudes, and the handover of the family business, family networking and nepotism. To assess the processes at work in this intergenerational transmission, the research evaluates the effect of having a liberal professional father on the probability of undertaking each of the compulsory steps required to become a liberal professional, which are: choosing a university degree providing access to a liberal profession; completing a period of practice; passing a licensing exam and starting a liberal profession.

The results show that having a liberal professional father has a positive and statistically significant effect on the probability of completing a compulsory period of practice and of starting a liberal profession; whereas there does not seem to be an effect on the type of degree chosen and on passing the licensing examination. The findings suggest that having a liberal professional father helps in lowering the entry barrier to liberal professions and this might lead to favouritism. There is evidence that part of the intergenerational transmission of liberal professions is explained by transmission of the family business, networking and potentially nepotism (Aina and Nicoletti 2018 Labour Economics).