Research & Analysis

Live Science
New Study Indicated Last Names Can Affect Consumer Habits

Always hated being picked last in the alphabetical name game? A new study finds organization by last names during childhood may dictate your buying habits during adulthood.

Bloomberg's Matt Miller on the surprisingly good November retail sales report. "The Last Name Effect," published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that people with last names towards the end of the alphabet are quicker to buy or be at the front of the line than those with names at the beginning of the alphabet.

Researchers Kurt A. Carlson and Jacqueline M. Conrad believe the habits are linked to childhood and constant alphabetizing during school. Children with late-letter last names tended to wait longer for things, and therefore compensate later in life, according to the study.

"The psychological driver isn't really about acquiring things. It's insurance that they get from the pain of missing out," Carlson said in a statement.

Live Science
Good or Bad, Baby Names Have Long-lasting Effects

Choosing a baby name proves to be a challenging task for many parents. And they're wise to work hard at it. A name can have a profound impact on a child that reverberates well into adulthood, a growing body of research suggests.

"There is a reason why baby name books are extremely popular," said David Figlio of Northwestern University in Illinois. "We're always trying to think about the first bit of a child's identity and so if we as a society pay a lot of attention to names it makes a lot of sense that people's names might influence how they think about themselves and the way in which people might think about them."

Plenty of research suggests the name chosen impacts a baby's life well into adulthood. For instance, donning your newborn boy with a girly sounding name could mean behavioral problems later in life. And unique baby names that only your child will have can be a hardship too.

The Washington Times
Odd first names linked to criminality

Mama, stick with Michael. But Malcolm? Maybe not.

A man’s first name can predict his criminal tendencies, according to research released Wednesday by economists who compared crime statistics and a roster of more than 15,000 first names to reveal a distinct “name-crime link” among American males.

The more unpopular or uncommon the name, the greater the chance the lad will end up in jail, said David E. Kalist and Daniel Y. Lee of Shippensburg University.

Study: Exotic Names Don't Make Grade For Black Students

A new study suggests that black students with exotic names don't do as well in school as black students with more common names.

The University of Florida study found that students with names such as Da'Quan or Damarcus are more likely to score lower on reading and math tests.

Researchers said that black students with unusual names are also less likely to meet teacher expectations and be referred to gifted programs than black students with more common names, such as Dwayne.

"This study suggests that the names parents give their children play an important role in explaining why African-American families on average do worse because African-American families are more inclined than whites or Hispanics to give their children names that are associated with low socio-economic status," said David Figlio, a University of Florida economist who did the research.

Top 10 ‘bad boy’ baby names

New parents may balk at naming their newborn boys such tried-and-true but yawn-inducing names as Michael or David — but a new study shows that if they play it safe, they may be doing their babies a favor.

Writing in Social Science Quarterly, Shippensburg University professor David Kalist says giving newborn males oddball, girly or strange first names may just help land them in jail.

In alphabetical order, the Top 10 “bad boy” names, according to Kalist, are Alec, Ernest, Garland, Ivan, Kareem, Luke, Malcolm, Preston, Tyrell and Walter.