...might not end up at Attica... so says the Social Science Quarterly...
We examine whether a relationship exists between juvenile delinquency and first names by answering a basic question: Are juveniles with unpopular names more or less likely to become juvenile delinquents?I've never really been able to figure out the contemporary and increasingly popular rationale... of saddling kids with "unique", or more to the point, bizarro names.
We add to the literature on first names by finding, regardless of race, a positive correlation between unpopular first names and juvenile delinquency. The first names of juvenile delinquents do not represent a random sample of first names in the general population.
I mean, however cool it may sound on that pleasure-droid on Battlestar Galactica... the fact is, your kid has to be able to survive on Planet Playground.
A 10 percent increase in the popularity of a name is associated with a 3.7 percent decrease in the number of juvenile delinquents who have that name. Because unpopular names may signal an increased propensity to commit crime, this study provides additional insight (beyond that of a discrimination motive on the part of employers) as to why job applicants with unpopular names may be disadvantaged.Now, the study itself delivers a few import caveats... but, my feeling is... why experiment on your children at all?
We show that unpopular names are associated with juveniles who live in nontraditional households, such as female-headed households or households without two parents. In addition, juvenile delinquents with unpopular names are more likely to reside in counties with lower socioeconomic status.
These two findings suggest that unpopular names may merely be correlated with omitted factors (disadvantage home environment) that affect the propensity toward juvenile delinquency rather than being the cause of juvenile delinquency. Nevertheless, if having an unpopular name constrains employment opportunities or negatively affects how others perceive one, it is possible that names could have a causal effect on crime.FWIW... my son is named after his maternal grandfather.
This hypothesis is consistent with the findings of Twenge and Manis (1998). They control for family background characteristics by using a paired-siblings design and report: "First names and identity appear to go hand in hand, with first names explaining a small but significant part of the variance in the psychological adjustment of the individual."