Statistical Problems and Solutions in Onomastic Research - Exemplified by a Comparison of Given Name Distributions in Germany Throughout the 20th Century

36 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2010  

Denis Huschka

German Data Forum

Gert G. Wagner

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); Berlin University of Technology; German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP)

Date Written: November 1, 2010

Abstract

The German Socio Economic Panel Study (SOEP) offers the rare opportunity to look at patterns of given names amongst a representative sample of more than 50,000 people born since 1900. This article develops an exemplary picture of typical frequency distributions for given names and their developments over time. In this paper, we first discuss the advantages and limitations of various data bases which have been widely used to study the distribution of given names. Second, we address the problem that name distributions are typically characterized by a "Large Number of Rare Events" (LNRE) zone. With regard to this, we focus our attention on the difficulties associated with comparing name distributions. Third, we apply some measures of the concentration of distributions from other lines of research (economics and computational linguistics). Finally, we stress the problem of the statistical significance of differences in name distributions based on samples.

Keywords: Given names, large number of rare events (LNRE), concentration of distributions, SOEP

JEL Classification: C49, C83, Y8

Suggested Citation

Huschka, Denis and Wagner, Gert G., Statistical Problems and Solutions in Onomastic Research - Exemplified by a Comparison of Given Name Distributions in Germany Throughout the 20th Century (November 1, 2010). SOEPpaper No. 332. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1722527 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1722527

Denis Huschka (Contact Author)

German Data Forum ( email )

Mohrenstrasse 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Gert G. Wagner

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany
+49 30 8 978 9290 (Phone)
+49 30 8 978 9200 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.diw.de/programme/jsp/MA.jsp?language=en&uid=gwagner

Berlin University of Technology ( email )

Stra├če des 17
Berlin, 10623
Germany
+30 8 978 9283 (Phone)

German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) ( email )

DIW Berlin
10108 Berlin, Berlin
Germany
+49 30 8978 9290 (Phone)
+49 30 8978 9109 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.diw/en/soep

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