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

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  • Mahmood Arai
  • Peter Skogman Thoursie

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Mahmood Arai & Peter Skogman Thoursie, 2009. "Renouncing Personal Names: An Empirical Examination of Surname Change and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 127-147, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:27:y:2009:i:1:p:127-147
    DOI: 10.1086/593964
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