Assessing Immigrant Generational Status from Names: Evidence for Experiments Examining Racial/Ethnic and Immigrant Discrimination

33 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2019

See all articles by S. Michael Gaddis

S. Michael Gaddis

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Sociology; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - California Center for Population Research

Date Written: February 12, 2019

Abstract

Evidence of racial and ethnic discrimination stems mostly from experiments in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere that use names to signal race/ethnicity. Although recent work has examined individual racial perceptions of names in the U.S., no research has examined how names might convey immigrant generational status – an important signal for discrimination experiments across the world. I conduct a survey experiment that presents respondents with a series of first and last names to examine perceptions of immigrant generational status in the U.S. In total, 1,659 respondents provide information on 56 different names. I find that when presented with both traditional first and last Hispanic, Indian, or Chinese names, respondents most often believe that person was not born in the U.S. When presented with traditional white or Anglo first names combined with Hispanic or Asian last names, respondents most often believe that person was born in the U.S. but their parents were not. Individual names provide some variation within these results and some groups have stronger results than others. These findings have important implications for discrimination experiments in the U.S. and open the door for future research to distinguish between discrimination based on race/ethnicity and discrimination based on immigration status.

Keywords: racial/ethnic discrimination, inequality, names, immigration, audit studies, experiments

JEL Classification: C90, C91, C93, C18, J70, J71

Suggested Citation

Gaddis, S. Michael, Assessing Immigrant Generational Status from Names: Evidence for Experiments Examining Racial/Ethnic and Immigrant Discrimination (February 12, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3022217 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3022217

S. Michael Gaddis (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Sociology ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - California Center for Population Research ( email )

337 Charles E Young Dr E
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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