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The Role of Family Networks in the Swedish Labour Market

Research project From having been considered an essential feature of pre-modern societies, family networks still play an important role for finding and getting a job, and previous studies indicate that the role of family networks has even increased in importance despite increased formalization and institutional arrangements aiming to make the recruitment process more transparent.

This project will analyze the prevalence and impact of family relations in Swedish workplaces. In particular, we aim to advance existing knowledge by (i) assessing the role of extended family networks (not only parents) to measure the potential kinship bias that may structure who gets a job and who does not, (ii) estimate how kinship bias may influence firm performance by also considering sector, location and other social divisions such as gender, age and ethnicity, and how this has changed over time (1960-2010), and (iii) asking informants whether they perceive kin related recruitment as successful or problematic.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2014-01-01 2016-12-31

Funding

The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, 2014-2016: SEK 3,900,000

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences

Research subject

Economic history, Human geography

Project description

From having been considered an essential feature of pre-modern societies, family networks still play an important role for finding and getting a job, and has even in some arenas increased in importance despite increased formalization and institutional arrangements aiming to make the recruitment process more transparent. While previous studies in Sweden and elsewhere have shown the immense role of parents for youths when entering the labor market, this project aims to advance this topic further.

We do so by analysing the prevalence and impact of family relations in all Swedish workplaces. In particular, we aim to advance existing knowledge by (i) assessing the role of extended family networks (not only parents) to measure the potential kinship bias that may structure who gets a job and who does not, (ii) estimate how kinship bias may influence firm performance by also considering sector, location and other social divisions such as gender, age and ethnicity, and how this has changed over time (1960-2010), and (iii) asking informants whether they perceive kin related recruitment as successful or problematic.

By combining quantitative analyses on longitudinal micro-data and interviews with firm representatives, this project will contribute with important insights on to what degree assumed transparency in a modern welfare state trickle down to its labor market and to the mechanisms structuring labor market entry and career-development for different groups of labor.