Intergenerational transmission in regulated professions and the role of familism

Omar Bamieh, Andrea Cintolesi

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We study to what extent familism accounts for the intergenerational transmission of jobs in regulated professions, and we examine the relevance of social norms to counteract familism. Before 2004, local courts graded the Italian bar exams for lawyers, and after 2004, exams were randomly assigned to external courts for grading. We measure family ties with the number of successful candidates sharing a family name and law firm address with an already registered lawyer. We find that the number of new entrants with a family tie drops by at least 10%, while the number of new lawyers does not change, showing that familism accounts for an important part of the intergenerational transmission in our setting. We do not find significant differences across gender, but our results are stronger in areas with weak social norms, although these areas have lower rents from licenses, suggesting that weak social norms rather than economic incentives are the main determinants of familism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-879
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 502046 Economic policy


  • CMI
  • Cat2
  • Familism
  • Lawyers
  • Regulated professions

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