Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Name Americanization Pays, Study Finds

10.12.2013
Most Americans and Europeans have heard stories of ancestors migrating to the U.S. and "Americanizing" their names.

A new study published by the Bonn-based Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) explores beyond such anecdotes, providing solid evidence on the magnitude and consequences of this phenomenon.


Effect of Name Americanization on (Log) Occupational Score, by Name
Source: IZA Discussion Paper No. 7725

In a sample of migrants who naturalized to become American citizens in 1930, the authors find that a third of European migrants abandoned foreign-sounding names to adopt a popular American name. This widespread practice paid off: Migrants who Americanized their names achieved higher economic success than those who did not.

Digging through thousands of 1920s naturalization papers from New York City, the authors track a wide range of characteristics of more than 3,000 migrants naturalizing by 1930. Since migrants had to fill out two separate documents for the naturalization procedure, their characteristics can be observed over time. The authors' conclusions are based upon comparing migrants' economic success over time, between those who kept their original name and those who chose more American names.

The study shows that migrants who changed their name into popular American names such as William, John or Charles, earned at least 14 percent more than those who changed into less popular names (see figure). Name Americanization was more common among migrants who were likely low skilled, more discriminated against, or with less alternative means for socio-economic improvement.

"These findings are not only informative for Europe and the United States' historical memory of the period, but also show that migrants faced an important tradeoff between individual identity and labor market success in the early making of modern America," says IZA Research Director Corrado Giulietti. His co-author Costanza Biavaschi adds, "Despite migrant occupational upgrading being limited at the time, migrants adopted various strategies to climb the occupational ladder. We discovered that name Americanization is an effective but under-explored strategy."

The analysis also considers the possibility that the choice of a new name reflected other factors related to migrants' experiences that could have also had an impact on economic success, such as differing levels of ambition or language acquisition. To isolate the economic payoff resulting from having a new name from that attributable to other factors, the authors note that migrants with names of certain linguistic complexity – measured by the Scrabble points of the name when arriving in the U.S. – decided to Americanize their names irrespective of other motivations. Using this strategy, the authors confirm that the name change as such caused better economic performance.

Download the study free of charge:
Costanza Biavaschi, Corrado Giulietti, Zahra Siddique
"The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization"
IZA Discussion Paper No. 7725
http://ftp.iza.org/dp7725.pdf
Contact:
Costanza Biavaschi
E-mail: biavaschi@iza.org
+49 (228) 3894-161

Mark Fallak | idw
Further information:
http://www.iza.org

Further reports about: Americanization IZA Migrants Name Americanization economic success

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>