The Church of “Scionology”

When you spend your life building a successful business, whether it's a small bakery or a corporate empire, it's a natural step to hand off the reins to your son or daughter. But economic research shows that handing down a business to an heir is, on average, a terrible idea.  Profitability, for example, drops an estimated 10 to 20 percent when a family firm is passed on to the next generation.  So why do we do this?  Why, so often, do family businesses get passed down from generation to generation in America, and in the rest of the world? In this hour of Freakonomics Radio, we’ll take a look at the surprising economics of succession. We’ll hear about fractured families, inept heirs, and some people who’ve found interesting ways to beat the odds of failure, from Anheuser-Busch to Warren Buffett. And we’ll hear how Japanese family firms have come up with the cleverest solution of all: adopting adult males into the family.