Winner, Loser, and Marijuana Pepsi

We wrote in Freakonomics about two brothers named Winner and Loser.


Winner became a lifetime criminal; Loser a detective in the NYPD. The story of these two brothers matched the findings of my academic research with Roland Fryer, which found no impact of a child’s name on her life.

Now, from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, we have the story of three sisters: Kimberly, Robin, and Marijuana Pepsi Jackson. Just like Loser before her, Marijuana Pepsi has made something of her life, earning a master’s degree in education.


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  1. tim says:


    Please actually read the book Freakonomics before commenting on the blog. The claim is not “outrageous,” it’s backed up by solid evidence.

    Put simply, the socioeconomic conditions a person is born into determines their lot in life. Names tend to reflect those socioeconomic conditions.

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  2. Joe H says:

    This makes me feel a little better about the “names” my pregnant wife has been adding to the possibility list. Maybe I’ll add Marijuana Pepsi to the list and see if she notices.

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  3. Bob W. says:

    One piece of data that contradicts the idea that name has no effect on people’s lives comes from an UC San Diego study on people’s initials. Looking at a huge database of death certificates, they found that people named with “bad” sets of initials (i.e. DIE, BAD, PIG, etc) were more likely to die sooner than people with “good” initials (WIN, ACE, etc).

    Pretty cool study, actually.

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  4. Caliphilosopher says:

    Tim –

    Actually, I’ve read and own the book. Thanks for the concern though.

    My point is this: saying that a name has NO impact is ridiculous. There’s obvious social impact that a person’s name has. Maybe he didn’t find ECONOMIC impact; that doesn’t mean that therefore a name has NO impact.

    Also, socioeconomic conditions do not determine a person’s lot in life; if so, then there’s no reason for people to actually try things out of their own will. There are plenty of instances where people have lifted themselves from one socioeconomic condition to another.

    Just something for you to think about.

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  5. Anne says:

    Have you ever read Top Dog/Under Dog with the two characters who are brothers named Lincoln and Booth? very good play…

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  6. Paul says:

    And this makes me wonder…

    What ever happened to Moon Unit Zappa?

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  7. Othar Hugh Manati says:

    Let me Google that for you, Paul.

    Moon Zappa

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  8. Jill says:

    I went to school at Beloit College and MP was a legend there, even though she was never a student but lived in the town. Whenever I’m involved in a conversation about strange names (or when reading Freakonomics) I always bring up Marijuana Pepsi Jackson (although legend had it was Marijuana Pepsicola Jackson). It’s great to see that she’s successful. BTW, Topdog/Underdog is not a book; it’s a play.

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