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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
Vol. 27, No. 1 (January 2009), pp. 127-147
DOI: 10.1086/593964
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/593964
Page Count: 21
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Renouncing Personal Names: An Empirical Examination of Surname Change and Earnings
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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.

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