Nepotism, incentives and the academic success of college students

Deniz Gevrek*, Z. Eylem Gevrek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the role of parent-owned businesses on children's college success and post-college aspirations by using a unique data set from a private university in Turkey. The data set matches college students' administrative records with survey responses. The presence of self-employed parents and family businesses has a strong negative association with college success even after accounting for observed ability, parental background, and various individual characteristics. An explanation for the lower GPAs of the children of self-employed parents is that in the presence of parent-owned businesses students have a larger set of post-graduation options and are more likely to plan on becoming self-employed due to intergenerational transfer of self-employment. Hence, these students may not exert as much effort in acquiring the task-specific career-oriented human capital taught in college. In line with expectations, we find that the children of self-employed parents are more likely to have entrepreneurial intent and are less likely to plan to attend graduate school.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-591
Number of pages11
JournalLabour Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • College success
  • Family businesses
  • Nepotism
  • Self-employment


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