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Renouncing Personal Names: An Empirical Examination of Surname Change and Earnings

Mahmood Arai () and Peter Skogman Thoursie ()

Journal of Labor Economics, 2009, vol. 27, issue 1, 127-147

Abstract: We study the effects of surname change to Swedish-sounding or neutral names on earnings for immigrants from Asian/African/Slavic countries. To estimate this effect, we exploit the variation resulting from different timing of name changes across individuals during the 1990s. The results imply that there is a substantial increase in annual earnings after a name change, no effects on earnings prior to a name change, and no positive general effects of a new name for other groups that renounced a foreign name. Based on these findings, we argue that these effects are due to name change as a response to discrimination. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Date: 2009
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