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The Nepotism and Academic Dynasties of Italy

March 3, 2013

The presumption that connections matter dates back a long way. The very term nepotism – the favouring of your own family members over others – originates in this country, derived from the custom of medieval Popes handing out senior clerical jobs to their nephews – “nipote” in Italian.

Much has changed since medieval times, of course, but critics say not enough, even though finding a solution may be crucial if Italy is to pull itself out of the economic mire. The country is currently suffering one of its longest recessions in post-war history.

Continue to article written by Ed Butler HERE

Academic Dynasties: Decentralization and Familism in the Italian Academia

Decentralization can lead to “good” or “bad” outcomes depending on the socio-cultural norms of the targeted communities. We investigate this issue by looking at the evolution of familism and nepotism in the Italian academia before and after the 1998 reform, which decentralized the recruitment of professors from the national to the university level. To capture familism we use a novel dataset on Italian university professors between 1988 and 2008 focusing on the informative content of last names. We construct two indices of “homonymy” which capture the concentration of last names in a given academic department relative to that in the underlying general population. Our results suggest that increased autonomy by local university officials resulted in a significant increase in the incidence of familism in areas characterized by low civic capital but not in areas with higher civic capital.

Abstract found HERE

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