Archives for baby names



American Baby Names Are Somehow Getting Even Worse

This piece on baby names by Drew Magary made me laugh out loud.  I sent it to my wife, and she laughed so hard she cried.



Bad News for People With Hard-to-Pronounce Names

If you have one of those names that people are always struggling to pronounce, we have some bad news for you. 

A new paper (ungated version here) by Simon M. Laham, Peter Koval, and Adam L. Alter finds that an easy name may confer advantages. The authors conducted five studies comparing easy- and hard-to-pronounce names (like Vougiouklakis or Leszczynska, for example): “Studies 1–3 demonstrate that people form more positive impressions of easy-to-pronounce names than of difficult-to-pronounce names.” While the first three studies focused on surnames, a fifth study analyzed both the first and last names of lawyers within law firms and found that “lawyers with more easily pronounceable names occupied superior positions within their firm hierarchy … The effect was independent of firm size, firm ranking, or mean associate salary.”

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Where Have All the Bobs Gone?

Jon Bois at SB Nation writes about the disappearance of Bobs in sports:

Across the histories of Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, and NCAA football and basketball, there have been a total of 1,884 athletes who primarily went by the name Bob. Not Robert, or Bobby, but Bob. 

Of those 1,884 Bobs, Sanders [of the San Diego Chargers] is the only one still playing.

We’ve written regularly about names and how some just go out of fashion. The fact is that “Robert” is still holding its own. Read More »



Is It Time to Start a Strange Name Hall of Fame?

We should probably start a Strange Name Hall of Fame at some point to chronicle all the weird, wonderful, terrible names that readers have passed along to us since we first wrote about names in Freakonomics. This one, from Joyce Wilson, would probably make the cut:

I thought of Freakonomics when I was at a St. Louis area grocery store and saw cut-out paper snowflakes taped to the window with the makers’ names on them. The name I particularly noticed? Demonica.

Levitt’s reply when he saw this e-mail: “Perhaps the little girl’s mother is just a heavy metal fan.”



The World Wide Web Keeps it Local

Rather than create a “global village,” the Internet may have actually “shrunk people’s horizons,” reports an Economist article about a new study by Hebrew University researchers Jacob Goldenberg and Moshe Levy. They used a common Freakonomics topic — baby names — to study how far ideas have spread since the advent of the Internet. Read More »



What's in a Name? Four Thousand and Fifty Dollars

It may be a gag, but from the looks of this eBay page, someone just sold the naming rights for her unborn baby — and two pairs of Nike Air baby booties — for $4,050. She doesn’t care what name the buyer chooses, but hopes it’s not one that will get her child’s “butt kicked.” […] Read More »



Where the Neighborhood Has No Name

We’ve written before on whether a child’s first name has any effect on life outcomes, and whether street names have any effect on housing prices. What if a neighborhood changes its name? Ask the residents of South Central Los Angeles. Actually, you can’t, because technically the neighborhood no longer exists. The name “South Central” was […] Read More »



The FREAK-est Links

The baby names debate continues. (Earlier) Head of new NYC Office of Financial Empowerment answers questions. (Earlier) Is public peer review necessary in security? (Earlier) Dirty, dirty biofuel Read More »