Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What's in a name? Perhaps more (or less) money

Date:
March 11, 2009
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Before employers have a chance to judge job applicants on their merits, they may have already judged them on the sound of their names. According to a study published in the Journal of Labor Economics, immigrants to Sweden earn more money after they change their foreign-sounding names.

Before employers have a chance to judge job applicants on their merits, they may have already judged them on the sound of their names. According to a study published in the Journal of Labor Economics, immigrants to Sweden earn more money after they change their foreign-sounding names.

Study authors Mahmood Arai and Peter Skogman Thoursie (both of Stockholm University) found an earnings increase of 141 percent for a sample of African, Asian and Slavic immigrants who changed their names to be ethnically neutral or a bit more Swedish-sounding. The earnings increase is mostly due to individuals within the group who reported little or no earnings before the name change, but significantly more shortly afterwards, the authors say.

"[W]e believe [the name change effect] stems largely from improving one's chances of being called to a job interview and thus increasing employment probabilities," the authors write. "Employers might sort out the applicants with foreign-sounding names due to [notions] about abilities and characteristics assumed to be associated with such names."

Arai and Skogman Thoursie used a sample of 641 immigrants who registered a name-change with the Swedish government between 1991 and 2000. The researchers analyzed earnings in the three years before and three years after a name change using a statistical method that accounts for inflation and differences in earnings related to age or place of residence. The analysis showed that the increase in earnings generally occurred the year after a name change became final.

While the authors concede that there could be confounding factors in the data, they do not believe those factors affect their conclusion.

"It is reasonable to assume that individuals who change names … also try other strategies, such as an intensified job search, in order to improve their chances of employment and earnings," the researchers write. However, there is a time lag of one to two years between when application is made and a name change becomes final. There would be no reason, the authors argue, not to intensify the job search while the name change application is being processed. "If the [name change effect] is contaminated by … other strategies, we should observe an effect in the year before the actual name change."

No significant increase in earnings was found in the year before name changes became final.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Arai et al. Renouncing Personal Names: An Empirical Examination of Surname Change and Earnings. Journal of Labor Economics, 2009; 27 (1): 127 DOI: 10.1086/593964

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "What's in a name? Perhaps more (or less) money." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090310120357.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2009, March 11). What's in a name? Perhaps more (or less) money. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090310120357.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "What's in a name? Perhaps more (or less) money." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090310120357.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins