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Research Article

Measuring Nepotism through Shared Last Names: The Case of Italian Academia

  • Stefano Allesina mail

    sallesina@uchicago.edu

    Affiliation: Department of Ecology and Evolution, Computation Institute, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

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  • Published: August 03, 2011
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021160

Reader Comments (12)

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Congratulations, more studies like yours are needed!

Posted by Herrero on 22 Sep 2011 at 21:37 GMT

Congratulations to the author for his civic courage in dissecting this plague that affects many sectors of the Italian society, particularly the academia. Having worked for many years in an Italian university, I have some comments: nepotism is not only detrimental for the university, as stated in the article, but for the entire society, as it negates opportunities to people who deserve them, thus preventing real progress and harming many. My perception of nepotism in Italy is that it is still largely considered "normal" rather than "a cancer" (as it, indeed, is). I am skeptical that a law will eradicate this misconduct "la legge c'e', ma chi pon mano ad essa?" in hiring processes, however studies like this promote awareness. I hope similar studies will follow on gender issues (evident gender gap in the so called "power jobs") and the more difficult to investigate issues like non-familial relationships between individuals, including affiliations to lobbies, domestic partners, lovers etc., as advocated by the author. Unfortunately, many of these problems can be found even in countries that have strict regulations (e.g. specific university policies) against them. His work is a positive sign of hope in a dark landscape, showing that a better future is probably hard to achieve, but still possible.

No competing interests declared.