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The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1116
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Labor Economics
Issue number4
Early online date29 Jun 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 4 Aug 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jun 2017
DatePublished (current) - Oct 2017


We provide the first evidence of the magnitude and consequences of the Americanization of migrants’ names in the early twentieth century. We construct a longitudinal data set of naturalization records, tracking migrants and their naming choices over time. We consistently find that migrants who Americanized their names experienced larger occupational upgrading than those who did not. Name Americanization embodies an intention to assimilate among low-skilled migrants and reveals the existence of preferences for American names within the labor market. We conclude that the trade-off between individual identity and labor market success was present then as it is today.

    Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics




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