The Economic Incentives of Cultural Transmission: Spatial Evidence from Naming Patterns Across France

83 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2013

See all articles by Yann Algan

Yann Algan

Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)

Clément Malgouyres

Institut des politiques publiques (PSE)

Thierry Mayer

Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)

Mathias Thoenig

University of Lausanne; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: April 2013

Abstract

This paper studies how economic incentives influence cultural transmission, using a crucial expression of cultural identity: Child naming decisions. Our focus is on Arabic versus Non-Arabic names given in France over the 2003-2007 period. Our model of cultural transmission features three determinants: (i) vertical (parental) cultural transmission culture; (ii) horizontal (neighborhood) influence; (iii) information on the economic penalty associated with Arabic names. We find that economic incentives largely influence naming choices: Would the parental expectation on the economic penalty be zero, the annual number of babies born with an Arabic name would be more than 50 percent larger.

JEL Classification: J3, Z1

Suggested Citation

Algan, Yann and Malgouyres, Clément and Mayer, Thierry and Thoenig, Mathias, The Economic Incentives of Cultural Transmission: Spatial Evidence from Naming Patterns Across France (April 2013). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9416, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2247276

Yann Algan (Contact Author)

Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) ( email )

Clément Malgouyres

Institut des politiques publiques (PSE) ( email )

48 boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014
France

Thierry Mayer

Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) ( email )

Mathias Thoenig

University of Lausanne ( email )

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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