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Blog post on studying name discrimination

General Name Talk & Names in the News 2 replies 50 views
holey 3 months

I ran across this blog post today on Data Colada, a site which discusses academic research.

[36] How to Study Discrimination (or Anything) With Names; If You Must

It talks about making sure to use names that are comparable in every respect except the point of difference that you're trying to study.  For example, the name Jennifer is much more age-specific than the name John, so it would not be appropriate to compare the rate of hire of Johns vs. Jennifers if you were looking for sex discrimination.

Some of the points are debatable (for example, I don't think of Jamal as a low-status name) but it's a worthwhile topic overall.

One thing that really surprised me is that men named Frank, Carl and Joseph apparently marry women named Erica at the same rate as men named Eric do (and overall have the most similar wife name distribution to the one for Eric). 

How could that be when there is such a generational difference between, say, Frank and Eric?  In the linked paper, the author says that his source material was the full set of Texas marriage licenses 1966-2007, so clearly it will have greater coverage of the younger living men with those names, but still...

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