Robert Akerlof, the son of Nobel Laureate economist George Akerlof, was on the economics PhD job market this year from Harvard.  It raises the question of which academic disciplines are the most recurrent within families.  I see two arguments about the heridity of economics.

On the positive side, economics is a language and framework for thinking about things that come up in everyday life.  It will be more natural and common for an economist parent to explain economic concepts to their kids than it would be for parents in other disciplines, even other social sciences.  On top of that, being an economist probably shapes one’s style of parenting more than being, say, a chemist does and so there is an additional, covert, channel of transmission.

On the negative side, I sometimes think that what inspires someone to go for a PhD in some discipline is when they discover that it allows them to organize and understand things in a new way.  If a child is raised to think like an economist at an early age, they will never have this kind of revelatory moment and so may never feel drawn to economics as an academic discipline.

Finally, the question of heredity conditions on the child going to academia at all.  It could be that having parents who are economists make you less likely to get any sort of advanced degree.

It would be interesting to see the data.