Using Swedish registry data, we study the chances of mobility into the Swedish labour market elite for men who graduated in the years 1985−2005. The elite is defined as top earners within mid- and large sized firms and within the public sector organisations (henceforth, we use organisation for both firms and public organisations). Using discrete time event history models, we study the incidence of elite entry in terms of external recruitment and internal promotion. The choice of field of study and of college or university are important, as are personality and, to a limited extent, cognitive ability. What is most striking is that having kin in elite positions increases the chance of elite entry in general, and having parents in top positions in the same organisation increases the likelihood of internal promotion. In sum, elite entry among college-educated males is associated with a diversity of factors, suggesting that complex explanations for labour market success should be considered, where skills, personality, and family ties all seem to matter.
Keywords: Elite transitions, mobility, personality, cognitive ability, kinship ties, field of study
Bihagen, E., Nermo, M., Stern, C. & Åberg, Y. (2017). Elite mobility among college graduated men in Sweden: Skills, personality and family ties. Acta Sociologica, 60(4), 291-308. DOI: 10.1177/0001699316684004