The Sins of your Network

Raj Chetty of Havard University has done lots of research showing how a child’s outcome in life patterns after their parents and their neighborhood. He is not the first to note the effects between parents and their offspring. James S. Coleman also gained fame from tracking the human capital a parent bestows upon a child. This transference of resources more often than not germinates into flourishings of success throughout the child’s life.

What about in the other direction? If a person is corrupted in some way, do those flaws tie back to the parents? I don’t think I need research or data to make the claim that a kid from a tougher neighborhood has a harder time securing that first job. Employers will think twice before taking responsibility for an employee whose father, brother, or uncle has been in trouble with the law.

And then there are assumptions made when you turn over a whole bunch of your money to a perceived financial wiz kid. What portion of that decision was influenced by the fact that his parents are both attorneys with one of the most reputable universities in the world? Certainly, it must have played a part in calculated decisions to do business with a mere fledgling of a business person. The thought process goes something like, ‘they’d never let their own kid do something completely illegal, would they?’

No matter the exact portion of the impact on each of these economic actions: to hire, to invest. The point is that there is some numerical representation that pegs this social impact.