The intergenerational transmission of liberal professions

Carmen Aina, Cheti Nicoletti

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By using university administrative and survey data on Italian graduates, we analyse the intergenerational transmission of liberal professions. We find that having a father who is a liberal professional has a positive and significant effect on the probability of a graduate of becoming a liberal professional. To assess the processes at work in this intergenerational transmission, we evaluate the effect of having a liberal professional father on the probabilities to undertake 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. Having a liberal professional father has a positive and statistically significant effect on the probability to complete a compulsory period of practice and to start a liberal profession; whereas there does not seem to be an effect on the type of degree chosen and on passing the licensing examination, at least after controlling for child’s and parental formal human capital.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-120
JournalLabour economics
Early online date13 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

©2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.


  • Professional licensing
  • Liberal professions
  • Intergenerational mobility
  • Nepotism
  • Family networking
  • Human capital

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