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:
- 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?.
- 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…
- Spaniards, 30 are called like me.
- borned in 1970s (my decade), 14 are called like me.
- living in Castellón (my province), 25 are called like me.
- 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!