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Making a Name: Women's Surnames at Marriage and Beyond

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  • Claudia Goldin
  • Maria Shim

Abstract

This paper tracks the fraction of college graduate women who kept their surnames upon marriage and after childbirth and explores some of the correlates of surname retention. Data from the New York Times, Harvard College alumni books, and Massachusetts birth records are used. Surname retention at marriage greatly increased from 1975 to about 1985 although Massachusetts birth records and the Harvard data show a decrease in the fraction keeping their surnames beginning around the early 1990s. The observable characteristics of importance in surname retention are those revealing that the bride has already "made a name" for herself.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Goldin & Maria Shim, 2004. "Making a Name: Women's Surnames at Marriage and Beyond," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 143-160, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:18:y:2004:i:2:p:143-160
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/0895330041371268
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/0895330041371268
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Collado, M. Dolores & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Romeu, Andrés, 2012. "Intergenerational linkages in consumption patterns and the geographical distribution of surnames," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 341-350.
    2. Jurajda, Stepán & Münich, Daniel, 2010. "Admission to selective schools, alphabetically," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1100-1109, December.

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