More is More: Some Economics of Distinctively-Named White Kids
Using data covering every child born in California from 1961 to 2000, Fryer and Levitt ( 2004 ) find that in the 1960s, the differences in name choices by blacks and whites were relatively small, but that a profound shift began among blacks in the mid-1970s toward more distinctively black names, especially among blacks in racially isolated neighborhoods. As an extension of Fryer and Levitt ( 2004 ), this study uses data on the names of about 1,300 white children born over the four-year period from 1997 to 2000 and living in a segment of a Metropolitan Statistical Area in the Deep South, and finds that use of combination first names—largely based on combinations of single names included among the names of high-end white children from Fryer and Levitt ( 2004 ) and Levitt and Dubner ( 2005 )—is significantly more prevalent among high-end white children than it is among low-end white children. Unlike the data described in Fryer and Levitt ( 2004 ), which support an Identity Model wherein distinctively black names result from the Black Power movement that encouraged blacks to “accentuate and affirm black culture and fight the claims of black inferiority,” the present study suggests that high-end parents may use the combination first name convention to increase the likelihood of the child’s future success in various partnership markets, such as dating, marriage and business-partnership markets. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2012
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Volume (Year): 40 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
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