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The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization

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  • Biavaschi, Costanza

    () (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU))

  • Giulietti, Corrado

    () (University of Southampton)

  • Siddique, Zahra

    () (University of Bristol)

Abstract

We examine the impact of the Americanization of names on the labor market outcomes of migrants. We construct a novel longitudinal data set of naturalization records in which we track a complete sample of migrants who naturalize by 1930. We find that migrants who Americanized their names experienced larger occupational upgrading. Some, such as those who changed to very popular American names like John or William, obtained gains in occupation-based earnings of at least 14%. We show that these estimates are causal effects by using an index of linguistic complexity based on Scrabble points as an instrumental variable that predicts name Americanization. We conclude that the tradeoff between individual identity and labor market success was present since the early making of modern America.

Suggested Citation

  • Biavaschi, Costanza & Giulietti, Corrado & Siddique, Zahra, 2013. "The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization," IZA Discussion Papers 7725, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7725
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Saku Aura & Gregory D. Hess, 2010. "What'S In A Name?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 214-227, January.
    2. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2012. "Europe's Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses: Self-Selection and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1832-1856, August.
    3. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2014. "A Nation of Immigrants: Assimilation and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(3), pages 467-506.
    4. Yann Algan & Thierry Mayer & Mathias Thoenig, 2013. "The Economic Incentives of Cultural Transmission: Spatial Evidence from Naming Patterns across France," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/bakbbitll86, Sciences Po.
    5. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    6. 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.
    7. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
    8. Bandiera, Oriana & Rasul, Imran & Viarengo, Martina, 2013. "The Making of Modern America: Migratory Flows in the Age of Mass Migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 23-47.
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Why americanize your name?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-12-13 21:02:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Stepan Jurajda & Dejan Kovac, 2016. "What's in a Name in a War," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp573, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    2. Pedro Carneiro & Sokbae Lee & Hugo Reis, 2015. "Please call me John: name choice and the assimilation of immigrants in the United States, 1900-1930," CeMMAP working papers CWP28/15, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. repec:eee:exehis:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:37-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:29-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Chabé-Ferret, Bastien, 2016. "Adherence to Cultural Norms and Economic Incentives: Evidence from Fertility Timing Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 10269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. repec:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1311-45 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Zachary Ward, 2016. "The Role of English Fluency in Migrant Assimilation: Evidence from United States History," CEH Discussion Papers 049, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    8. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Boustan, 2017. "Immigration in American Economic History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1311-1345, December.
    9. Ariu, Andrea & Docquier, Frédéric & Squicciarini, Mara P., 2016. "Governance quality and net migration flows," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 238-248.
    10. Sekou KEITA & Jérome VALETTE, 2016. "Natives’ attitudes and immigrants’ unemployment durations," Working Papers 201623, CERDI.
    11. Stepan Jurajda & Daniel Munich, 2014. "Alphabetical Order Effects in School Admissions," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp509, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    12. Timothy J Hatton & Zachary Ward, 2018. "International Migration in the Atlantic Economy 1850 - 1940," CEH Discussion Papers 02, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Americanization; names; assimilation; migration;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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