Tyler Cowen: The Rich Are Also Different From One Another

The economic sectors where the very wealthy are most closely connected to elite education are hedge funds, venture capital, the internet, law and finance. Those fields may require greater smarts, better training and stronger elite social connections. Real estate, automobiles, leisure products and mining were the sectors least-closely connected to elite education. Many of us have an image of those enterprises as more hands-on, more connected to the retail experience (except mining), and possibly lower in social prestige.

Inside the group of very wealthy Americans, the relationship between wealth and elite education is extremely weak. So going to Harvard may help you get into this club, but it doesn’t seem to boost your chances of climbing to its top.

For all the talk of Sweden and Austria as relatively egalitarian societies, they are also the countries where the greatest proportion of high-net-worth individuals inherited their wealth: 43.8 percent and 49.6 percent, respectively. In the U.S., inherited wealth accounts for only 12.6 percent of the very wealthy individuals in the study’s sample.

From: The Rich Are Also Different From One Another – Bloomberg View

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2 thoughts on “Tyler Cowen: The Rich Are Also Different From One Another

  1. This seems to be about barriers to entry. Consulting and finance are likely to be the two industries to only pick employees from HYPS and maybe Chicago. These were the industries that spawned the famous article on how even Cornell and Brown are second-tier.

    Luxury Products are seemingly closer connected to “trades” and have relatively lower barriers to entry. The Fisher family (the Gap empire) started off selling Levi’s near SFState to college students in the late 1960s. A lot of the big fashion houses started off as small seamstress or tailor shops. Selling cars always had an element of the déclassé.

    The same is true in law. The richest lawyers tend to be plaintiff’s lawyers who work on contingency fees. However, this field is usually considered less classy than working for corporations. Jokes on ambulance chasers, etc.

    I am all for questioning the respectability of corporation.

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