Do Masculine Names Help Female Lawyers Become Judges? Evidence from South Carolina

Posted: 25 Aug 2009

See all articles by Bentley Coffey

Bentley Coffey

Clemson University

Patrick A. McLaughlin

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Abstract

This paper provides the first empirical test of the Portia Hypothesis: Females with masculine monikers are more successful in legal careers. Utilizing South Carolina microdata, we look for correlation between an individual's advancement to a judgeship and his/her name's masculinity, which we construct from the joint empirical distribution of names and gender in the state's entire population of registered voters. We find robust evidence that nominally masculine females are favored over other females. Hence, our results support the Portia Hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

Coffey, Bentley and McLaughlin, Patrick A., Do Masculine Names Help Female Lawyers Become Judges? Evidence from South Carolina. American Law and Economics Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 112-133, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1458798 or http://dx.doi.org/ahp008

Bentley Coffey

Clemson University ( email )

101 Sikes Ave
Clemson, SC 29634
United States

Patrick A. McLaughlin

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
(703) 993-9670 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.patrickamclaughlin.com

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