Path-Dependent Careers: Family Perspectives

Instructions: Write a paper of 1200-1400 words that assesses the career trajectory of a family member such as a parent, uncle or aunt in terms of path dependence.
Grade weight: 25%
Description: The general claim of path dependence is that the trajectories of firms, industries and regions over time are shaped by history, and that decision-making is sequentially connected. In economic geography path dependence helps frame the evolutionary trajectories of firms in place and across space, and of regions as they specialize in certain kinds of activities. This assignment asks you to examine path dependence in a personal way. In general, path dependence refers to how past decisions and their outcomes influence present decisions. This history is significant because individual decision makers accumulate specialized expertise, assets and connections that in turn shape present and future opportunities and choices. Furthermore, decisions and their outcomes have to be understood in the particular times and places they were made. Decision makers have choices, and are not simply pre-determined. However, the opportunity costs of ignoring accumulated knowledge, experience and resources are likely significant. If expertise becomes obsolete different paths may be desirable, and existing paths may be terminated. For example, when a person leaves a country to make a home elsewhere their skills may become irrelevant or not recognized. Nevertheless, to an important degree the spatial division of labour is rooted in the ability and willingness of people to commit their energies to particular tasks and skills, while the initial choices that people make about their careers typically narrow subsequent choices.
Your assignment is to assess the career trajectory of a family member in terms of path dependence. If you wish, the subject(s) of your assignment can be anonymous and referred to as Subject A (and B as necessary). None of us chose our parents or where and when we are born, and into what kind of culture, class and income levels. Our relatives’ birth-places and circumstances represent ‘initial conditions’ that are ‘given’ at birth. In your paper, you should identify these initial conditions for your chosen relative and then note decisions regarding education, training, choice of career, and subsequent work life. To what extent did decisions in these respects shape subsequent decisions? How did where your relative lived affect choices and how did those choices affect location and migration? What other factors played a role? Can you predict what your relative will be doing next year, and where, and in five years?
Further notes:

  1. Briefly state your objectives, define path dependency and the scope of your approach.
  2. If you can try to illustrate your path dependent trajectory in the form of a figure or profile. Be as creative as you like.
  3. You should try to cite two or three references from the academic literature, including your text, to develop and support your argument. Your text provides an example article in the Reference Section to Chapter 2 (by Martin and Sunley). You can google others.
    Format: 1200-1400 words, double-spaced, with 1inch margins. (NOT including title page and reference list).
    Reference format: use one consistent style throughout your paper. If in doubt, use APA:
    https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/cite-write/citation-style-guides/apa

Sample Solution

ACED ESSAYS