All FSI News News December 17, 2020

So Your Parents Want You To Be a Doctor?

New research by Maria Polyakova and Petra Persson — both faculty fellows at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research — shows that socioeconomic status is hereditary and getting stronger over time. Children who grow up in poor households are likely to work low-wage jobs as adults. Adult kids of high-income parents typically have higher incomes themselves.
Child with a stethoscope
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Learning about an occupation from Mom or Dad has a long tradition — and has led to scientific and economic advances. Irene Curie joined her mother Marie in becoming a pioneer of nuclear medicine — and Nobel Prize winner. Sons have become U.S. president after their fathers. The notion of carrying the family career torch is even the stuff of Hollywood heroics, as “Star Wars” fans will recall Luke Skywalker proclaiming: “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”

Can this concentration of expertise within families have any unintended consequences? 

Increasingly, a concern is arising that high barriers to entry into the most lucrative occupations, combined with transmission of knowledge within families, may perpetuate socioeconomic inequalities by creating occupational dynasties.

In a new study published Dec. 16 in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal, Stanford assistant professors Petra Persson and SHP's Maria Polyakova examine heritability of the medical profession, which is among the highest-paying jobs in many countries. 

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Maria Polyakova

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Investigates design of health insurance systems and health inequality.
Maria Polyakova Stanford University

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A dollar bill and mask represents the economy during COVID-19 pandemic.

Initial Economic Damage from the COVID-19 Pandemic More Widespread Across Ages and Geographies than Initial Mortality Impacts

Maria Polyakova and colleagues examine how the pandemic impacted individual livelihoods depending on where people live, as well as the age of coronavirus victims.
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The Pitfalls of Outsourcing Public Welfare & Healthcare

When it comes to rooting out wasteful spending in federal entitlement programs, attention has long focused on preventing beneficiaries from gaming the system. A new Stanford study identifies a fresh cause for concern: the for-profit companies that the U.S. government increasingly tasks with providing benefits to Americans who are often poor, elderly or both.

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Stanford scholars examine the advantages of informal health expertise

Something as simple as, "Are you taking your medications?" could conceivably prolong a life.