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

Sciences Po

Clément Malgouyres

Institut des politiques publiques (PSE)

Thierry Mayer

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). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2247276

Clément Malgouyres

Institut des politiques publiques (PSE) ( email )

48 boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014
France

Thierry Mayer

Sciences Po ( email )

Mathias Thoenig

University of Lausanne ( email )

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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