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    1. Aura: Assistant Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211. Phone (573) 882 6073, Fax (573) 882-2697, E-mail Research Affiliate, CESifo, Munich, Germany.
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    1. Hess: Russel S. Bock Chair of Public Economics and Taxation, Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, Claremont McKenna College, Bauer Center, Claremont, CA 91711. Phone (909) 621-8117, Fax (909) 621-8249, E-mail Research Fellow, CESifo, Munich, Germany.
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      We are extremely grateful to Tom Smith for help in obtaining the data. We also thank Sandy Darity, Hirsh Kasper, Steve Levitt, and Ken Troske as well as seminar participants at Korea University and Claremont McKenna College for their comments.


This article analyzes two broad questions: Does your first name matter? And how did you get your first name anyway? Using data from the National Opinion Research Centers General Social Survey, we find evidence that, even after controlling for a myriad of exogenous background factors, first name features are predictors of many lifetime economic outcomes that are related to labor productivity such as education, happiness, and early fertility. However, we also find evidence, based on the differential impacts of gender and race on the “blackness” of a name, that identity could be an important channel for linking first name to lifetime economic outcomes. (JEL D1, J1, J7)

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