Nepotism and Connections

The National Enquirer is my main news source because it provides answers to my questions.   Why did NBC hire Chelsea Clinton?  The NE reports about a brewing “cat fight” at NBC over this weighty issue.  Chelsea Clinton’s career dynamics bring me back to the topic of nepotism and connections.   Can the RBC name some sociology research examining the web of coincidences?  For example,  General Powell’s son appeared to be over-placed in the Bush Administration.   The connection between Washington and “big business” creates big opportunities for insiders.   How else do you explain why Chicago Mayor earned so many millions on Wall Street or Dr. Gingrich’s sage advice for the GSEs?    Has the OWS movement taken on the “social network”?  While we agree that Steve Jobs earned his cash,  have these other folks earned theirs?

UPDATE:  Here is a cross-post that asks; “Are Economists Good People?”.

Author: Matthew E. Kahn

Professor of Economics at UCLA.

14 thoughts on “Nepotism and Connections”

  1. The National Enquirer has plenty of credibility. As far as I know, it is the only news source out that that takes libel law seriously. As a consequence, they’re pretty scrupulous with their facts, although less scrupulous about how they obtain their facts.
    The rest all assume (rightly) that they can mumble “Times v. Sullivan”, and win at the appellate level. They will therefore publish defamatory stenography smearing anybody. But they are scrupulous with how they obtain their facts. They scrupulously balance the lies told by one party with the spin put forth by the other.

    1. Most of Jobs´ fortune at his death came in fact from his well-judged but non-working stake in Pixar, not his work as boss of Apple. I don´t begrudge him Pixar either: it was a very high-risk investment in new technology and creative talent, of the Silicon Valley not Wall Street type.

  2. I can’t answer most of those questions, but as to why NBC hired Chelsea Clinton, the answer is fairly obvious: A well-known name helps draw some curious watchers. With nothing else to go on, the networks hope that name recognition might attract some eyes. In the long run, Ms. Clinton will either have a pleasing TV personality (which is not the same as a pleasing personality in real-life), in which case she will be featured more prominently, or after a couple of years, she and NBC will part company.

    The Clinton situation is in no way comparable to making Colon Powell’s sun the big cheese at the FCC or bribing Newt Gingrich with millions of taxpayer dollars

    1. Yeah. I’m not saying Steve Jobs’ gains were ill-gotten, but there’s a fair reward for his labor (hell, maybe tens of millions of dollars, I ain’t no soshalest) and then there’s a windfall for striking oil, plus the further windfall of big money attracting even bigger money.

      “Earn” is a very strong word, especially when we’re talking about the ninth and tenth figures to the left of the decimal point.

      1. I’m not sure what he did that other people who live and die poor don’t do their whole lives, aside from being born at the right place and the right time of course.

        1. A lot of people are born at the right place and the right time. Far fewer take advantage of it.

          1. I neither remember where I read it nor stand by it (blog words to live by!) but supposedly the bulk of Jobs’ wealth was from his Pixar investment, not from the Apple.

  3. There’s nothing more ridiculous than all the hand-wringing and pearl-clutching over NBC hiring Chelsea Clinton, like the network news game is some kind of strict meritocracy and she’s committing a cardinal sin by jumping the queue.

  4. People hire people they know. Matt, is this a problem, and if so, how would your precious market fix it?

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