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The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization

Costanza Biavaschi (), Corrado Giulietti () and Zahra Siddique ()

No 7725, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

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.

Keywords: Americanization; names; assimilation; migration (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J61 J62 N32 Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 39 pages
Date: 2013-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-lab, nep-lma and nep-mig
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (18) Track citations by RSS feed

Published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2017, 35 (4), 1089-1116. Pre-publication version available here . Online appendix available here

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Related works:
Journal Article: The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: The economic payoff of name Americanization (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization (2013) Downloads
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