Mats Lillehagen og Are Skeie Hermansen: Who’s Your Daddy?
Who’s Your Daddy? Nepotism, Employer Inheritance, and the Intergenerational Persistence of Economic Advantage in Norway
Mats Lillehagen (ISS, UiO)
Are Skeie Hermansen (ISS, UiO)
To the extent that children’s adult economic success arise from advantaged parents’ active strategies to help their children gain access to good jobs in adulthood—beyond the legitimate transmission of skills, preference socialization, and human-capital investments—this may reflect inequality of opportunities. Yet, the potentially nepotistic role of same-firm employment inheritance within families has received little focus in the sociological literature on intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic privilege. Using economy-wide linked employer-employee data from administrative registries, this paper addresses the relationship between intergenerational transmission of employers and earnings persistence between fathers and sons in Norway. To begin, our preliminary findings reveal that same-firm employment for fathers and sons is relatively common—at about 4%—and this probability rises steeply with the father’s firm-internal earnings rank. This association is strongest within small and mid-sized firms, which is consistent with mechanisms related to network influence and nepotism. Further, we find that sons employed by the same firm as their father experience stronger intergenerational earnings persistence compared to those who do not inherit their father’s employer. Finally, we find that the earnings premium associated with same-firm employment is robust net of controls for the son’s seniority, detailed educational credentials, and other potentially mediating pathways. In sum, our findings shed light on how organizational features of the labor market and the role of parental resources—through information, networks, and, potentially, direct control of the hiring process—interact to shape intergenerational persistence in economic advantage in egalitarian Norway.