By BJ Bjornson
The facts tend to speak for themselves sometimes.
... the most popular way to find a job is through family and friends. That holds true for all of us, but it is immensely more likely for the kids of the very rich. Look at this picture from a research paper that a colleague and I published in the Journal of Labor Economics (available here if you really want all the details).
The bottom line is that about 40% of us have at some point worked for exactly the same firm that at some point also employed our fathers. But if dad�s earnings put him in the top 25% these chances are above average, they start taking off if dad was in the top 5%, and reach the stratosphere for top earners. Almost 7 out of 10 sons of top earning dads had a job with his employer.
All parents want to help their children in whatever way they can. But top earners can do it more than others, and with more consequence: virtually guaranteeing, if not a lifetime of high earnings, at least a great start in life.
I won�t speak to the methodology of only looking at the male half of the species, though given the rather recentness of large-scale female participation in the workforce, I suppose you could make the argument that looking at the father�s employer is more appropriate for an intergenerational study at this point, though I'd say it�s a little less defensible to only focus on the son�s employment.
In any case, it does bring to mind this post by Glenn Greenwald on the �meritocracy� of the national media in the U.S., noting the hiring of Luke Russert, Jenna Bush, Meghan McCain, and Chelsea Clinton by major broadcasters. All, we are quite certain, based solely on their outstanding achievements in the field of journalism and never on anything so crass as their famous fathers� names.
Honestly, how could anyone look at all this and argue that the 1% all very much deserve their wealth due to the hard work and pluck they�ve shown?