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Renouncing Personal Names: An Empirical Examination of Surname Change and Earnings

Listed author(s):
  • Mahmood Arai
  • Peter Skogman Thoursie

We study the effects of surname change to Swedish-sounding or neutral names on earnings for immigrants from Asian/African/Slavic countries. To estimate this effect, we exploit the variation resulting from different timing of name changes across individuals during the 1990s. The results imply that there is a substantial increase in annual earnings after a name change, no effects on earnings prior to a name change, and no positive general effects of a new name for other groups that renounced a foreign name. Based on these findings, we argue that these effects are due to name change as a response to discrimination. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/593964
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 127-147

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:27:y:2009:i:1:p:127-147
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  1. Autor, David & Kerr, William & Kugler, Adriana, 2007. "Do Employment Protections Reduce Productivity? Evidence from U.S. States," IZA Discussion Papers 2571, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  3. Carlsson, Magnus & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2006. "Evidence of Ethnic Discrimination in the Swedish Labor Market Using Experimental Data," IZA Discussion Papers 2281, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "The Causes and Consequences of Distinctively Black Names," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 767-805.
  5. David H. Autor, 2003. "Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-42, January.
  6. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," Research Papers 1828, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  7. Arai, Mahmood & Moa Bursell , Moa & Nekby, Lena, 2008. "Between Meritocracy and Ethnic Discrimination: The Gender Difference," Research Papers in Economics 2008:4, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 1999. "Is There a Discretion in Wage Setting? A Test Using Takeover Legislation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(3), pages 535-554, Autumn.
  9. David H. Autor & William R. Kerr & Adriana D. Kugler, 2007. "Does Employment Protection Reduce Productivity? Evidence From US States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(521), pages 189-217, 06.
  10. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377.
  11. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
  12. Dennis J. Aigner & Glen G. Cain, 1977. "Statistical Theories of Discrimination in Labor Markets," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(2), pages 175-187, January.
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