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The Economic Incentives of Cultural Transmission: Spatial : Spatial Evidence from Naming Patterns across France

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  • Yann Algan
  • Thierry Mayer
  • Mathias Thoenig

Abstract

This paper aims at studying how economic incentives influence cultural transmission. We do so in the context of naming decisions, a crucial expression of cultural identity. Our focus is on Arabic versus Non- Arabic names given by parents to their newborn babies in France over the 2003-2007 period. Our model of cultural transmission disentangles between three determinants: (i) vertical transmission of parental culture; (ii) horizontal influence from the neighborhood; (iii) economic penalty associated with names that sound culturally distinctive. Our identification is based on the sample of households being exogenously allocated across public housings dwellings. We find that economic incentives largely influence naming choices: In the absence of economic penalty, the annual number of babies born with an Arabic name would have been more than 50 percent larger. Our theory-based estimates allow us to perform a welfare analysis where we gauge the strength of cultural attachment in monetary units. We find that the vertical transmission of an Arabic name provides the same shift in parents’ utility as a 3% rise in lifetime income of the child.

Suggested Citation

  • Yann Algan & Thierry Mayer & Mathias Thoenig, 2013. "The Economic Incentives of Cultural Transmission: Spatial : Spatial Evidence from Naming Patterns across France," Working Papers 2013-25, CEPII research center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cii:cepidt:2013-25
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    6. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano & Bryony Reich, 2021. "Nation-Building and Education," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 131(638), pages 2273-2303.
    7. Mazumder, Soumyajit, 2019. "From Immigrants to Americans: Race and Assimilation during the Great Migration," OSF Preprints eka5y, Center for Open Science.
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    9. Martinez de Lafuente, David, 2021. "Cultural Assimilation and Ethnic Discrimination: An Audit Study with Schools," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
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    11. Battaglia, Marianna & Chabé-Ferret, Bastien & Lebedinski, Lara, 2021. "Segregation, fertility, and son preference: the case of the Roma in Serbia," Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(2), pages 233-260, June.
    12. Esposito, Elena & Rotesi, Tiziano & Saia, Alessandro & Thoenig, Mathias, 2021. "Reconciliation Narratives: The Birth of a Nation after the US Civil War," CEPR Discussion Papers 15938, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Vasiliki Fouka & Soumyajit Mazumder & Marco Tabellini, 2019. "From Immigrants to Americans: Race and Assimilation during the Great Migration," Development Working Papers 445, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    14. Vasiliki Fouka & Soumyajit Mazumder & Marco Tabellini, 2018. "From Immigrants to Americans: Race and Assimilation during the Great Migration," Harvard Business School Working Papers 19-018, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2019.
    15. Arthur Blouin & Julian Dyer, 2021. "How Cultures Converge: An Empirical Investigation of Trade and Linguistic Exchange," Working Papers tecipa-691, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    16. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2016. "Cultural Assimilation during the Age of Mass Migration," NBER Working Papers 22381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Nicodemo, Catia & Raya, Josep M., 2018. "Does Juan Carlos or Nelson Obtain a Larger Price Cut in the Spanish Housing Market?," IZA Discussion Papers 11811, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Florian Hett & Markus Kröll & Mario Mechtel, 2019. "Choosing Who You Are: The Structure and Behavioral Effects of Revealed Identification Preferences," Working Papers 1903, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    19. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2018. "Diversity and Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 11553, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Rachel E. Kranton, 2016. "Identity Economics 2016: Where Do Social Distinctions and Norms Come From?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 405-409, May.
    21. Fouka, Vasiliki & Mazumder, Soumyajit & Tabellini, Marco, 2021. "From Immigrants to Americans: Race and Assimilation during the Great Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 14371, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    22. Arun Advani & Bryony Reich, 2015. "Melting pot or salad bowl: the formation of heterogeneous communities," IFS Working Papers W15/30, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    24. Nikoloz Kudashvili & Philipp Lergetporer, 2019. "Do Minorities Misrepresent Their Ethnicity to Avoid Discrimination?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp644, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cultural transmission; Choice of first names;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General

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