Task Followers and Labor Market Outcomes

  • Liwen Chen
  • John Gordanier
  • Orgul OzturkEmail author


This paper examines the extent to which children enter into occupations that are different from their father’s occupation, but require similar skills, which we call task following. We consider the possibility that fathers are able to transfer task-specific human capital either through investments or genetic endowments to their children. We show that there is indeed substantial task following, beyond occupational following and that task following is associated with a wage premium of around 5% over otherwise identical workers employed in a job with the same primary task. The size of the premium is similar in magnitude to the size of the premium associated with occupational following. The wage premium is robust to controls for industry, occupation categories and occupation characteristics.


Intergenerational transmission Task measures Occupation choice 

JEL Codes

J24 J31 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.East China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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