My name is Francisco, does it matter?


It seems so if we read Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner. When I first read the book, almost three years ago I couldn’t believe someone had messed about with an attribute that follows us from birth to death: our own name. The hipothesis to test was if the forename was linked to success in adult life; the authors analysed data from California and they found these results:


  1. Your forename is not a determinant of your [life economic] success. Instead, we have to look at it as a predictor, reason being it tells us more about how the parents are like. You got it?.
  2. Names move in cycles around the different socioeconomic strata around time; one name today is considered for higher income children, in many years could be will be considered for lower ones.


Besides that, I would add, many names will give us more ‘raw data’ to analyse than others, such us mine (Francisco, from Spain). If we have a look to the Spanish Census data, from Spanish National Statistics (INE), we’ll notice for every 1,000…

  1. Spaniards, 30 are called like me.
  2. borned in 1970s (my decade), 14 are called like me.
  3. living in Castellón (my province), 25 are called like me.
  4. inhabitants, 26 are called like me; Francisco is the 4th used name after Antonio, Jose, and Manuel.


So, do I have to change my name?.  You know me, always kidding!