Last name analysis of mobility, gender imbalance, and nepotism across academic systems [Statistics]
In biology, last names have been used as proxy for genetic relatedness in pioneering studies of neutral theory and human migrations. More recently, analyzing the last name distribution of Italian academics has raised the suspicion of nepotism, with faculty hiring their relatives for academic posts. Here, we analyze three large datasets containing the last names of all academics in Italy, researchers from France, and those working at top public institutions in the United States. Through simple randomizations, we show that the US academic system is geographically well-mixed, whereas Italian academics tend to work in their native region. By contrasting maiden and married names, we can detect academic couples in France. Finally, we detect the signature of nepotism in the Italian system, with a declining trend. The claim that our tests detect nepotism as opposed to other effects is supported by the fact that we obtain different results for the researchers hired after 2010, when an antinepotism law was in effect.
Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.
Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.