An analysis of the frequency of last names in Italian universities suggests the sector has a problem with nepotism. A study including the names of 61,000 professors by Univeristy of Chicago academic, Stefano Allesina showed that there was a very high likelihood that university hiring in Italy was not done on the basis of merit but through family connections.
In recent years, several scandals have hit Italian academia over the hiring of close family members to prominent faculty positions at public universities, and this study suggests these are not isolated incidents.
The analysis for 28 academic fields showed that highest likelihood of nepotism was in industrial engineering, law, medicine, geography, and pedagogy. Fields with the lowest likelihood of nepotism were linguistics, demography, and psychology.