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Zyzmor's Revenge?

In the SuperFreakonomics section about various “birth effects,” we cited some research about the downside of having a surname that begins with a letter late in the alphabet:

It is common practice, especially among economists, to co-write academic papers and list the authors alphabetically by last name. What does this mean for an economist who happened to be born Albert Zyzmor instead of, say, Albert Aab? Two (real) economists addressed this question and found that, all else being equal, Dr. Aab would be more likely to gain tenure at a top university, become a fellow in the Econometric Society (hooray!), and even win the Nobel Prize.

Now there’s some evidence of an upside for those with late-letter last names. In a new Journal of Consumer Research paper called “The Last Name Effect,” researchers Kurt A. Carlson and Jacqueline M. Conard found that people with last names toward the end of the alphabet are faster at making buying decisions. Why? Kids with the A to I last names were always first in line, whereas kids with last names from R to Z got sidelined when quantities were limited, or just grew to hate waiting in line. The researchers found that those with R-Z last names will “jump the line” whenever possible in order to compensate for this learned disadvantage. The behavior seems to persist into adulthood: women who married and changed their names still reflected the response time of their maiden last name.
*See Liran Einav and Leeat Yariv, “What’s in a Surname? The Effects of Surname Initials on Academic Success,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 20, no. 1 (2006). “Indeed,” they conclude, “one of us [presumably Yariv] is currently contemplating dropping the first letter of her surname.” See also C. Mirjam van Praag and Bernard M.S. van Praag, “The Benefits of Being Economics Professor A (and not Z),” Institute for the Study of Labor discussion paper, March 2007.