Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's in A Name? The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization





My colleague Joel Dobris tipped me off to a reference in the Financial Times to a very interesting study of immigrant assimilation. In The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization, Costanza Biavaschi (IZA Corrado Giulietti Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)) and  Zahra Siddique  (University of Reading; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) examine the impact of the Americanization of names on the labor market outcomes of migrants. The study finds 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%. The authors conclude that the tradeoff between individual identity and labor market success was present since the early making of modern America.


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