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About sad legacies: a study of the intergenerational occupational legacy in Brazil

Magno Rogério Gomes (State University of Londrina, Londrina, Brazil)
Marina Silva da Cunha (State University of Maringá, Maringá, Brazil)
Solange de Cássia Inforzato de Souza (State University of Londrina, Londrina, Brazil)
Paulo Jorge Reis Mourão (Department of Economics and NIPE, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 24 September 2020

Issue publication date: 22 June 2021




This article aims to analyze the workers' probabilities of following their parents’ occupational legacy and whether these individuals are paid differently compared to those who opted for occupations different from their parents, in Brazil.


To that end, the occupational legacy probability equation was estimated as the quantile wage equations with sample selection bias correction and the wage decomposition for Brazil from the microdata of the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) of 2014. It was found that families have a strong influence on the process of choosing the careers of their children. The average probability of a young person following the occupational legacy of their parents was 41.63%. This percentage is different when analyzing different groups of individuals, such as being male or female, being in a traditional or single parent family, being in an income household lower or higher per capita.


The results also confirm the hypothesis that workers who tend to follow the occupational legacy have lower wages than individuals who choose other occupations and that this may cause a “poverty trap” since the lower the salary quantile, the stronger the “trap” as economically disadvantaged young people tend to follow in their parents' footsteps and to contribute to family income they face a tradeoff, opt between work or study, which ends up disrupting their education and forcing young people to entering the job market early, performing secondary occupations with lower income and arduous work, generating a “vicious cycle of poverty”.

Research limitations/implications

Given the database, we are comprised to its most recent version.

Practical implications

This is the first work on Latin American problem of occupational legacy.


This is the first work on Latin American problem of occupational legacy.



The authors acknowledge the suggestions provided by the anonymous reviewers of International Journal of Manpower; remaining limitations are authors’ exclusive ones. Paulo Mourão also acknowledges the following ‐ This paper is financed by National Funds of the FCT – Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology within the project UIDB/03182/2020.


Gomes, M.R., Cunha, M.S.d., Souza, S.d.C.I.d. and Mourão, P.J.R. (2021), "About sad legacies: a study of the intergenerational occupational legacy in Brazil", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 702-731.



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