Tuesday, June 04, 2013

"We theorize that..."

Apparently, "we theorize that...." means "I thought of this in the shower, and had the data, so I figured what the hell!"

Liberellas versus Konservatives: Social Status, Ideology, and Birth Names in the United States

Eric Oliver, Thomas Wood & Alexandra Bass 
University of Chicago Working Paper, April 2013 

Abstract: Despite much public speculation, there is little scholarly research on whether or how ideology shapes American consumer behavior. Borrowing from previous studies, we theorize that ideology is associated with different forms of taste and conspicuous consumption: liberals are more drawn to indicators of "cultural capital" and more feminine symbols while conservatives favor more explicit signs of "economic capital" and masculine cues. These ideas are tested using birth certificate, U.S. Census, and voting records from California in 2004. We find strong differences in birth naming practices related to race, economic status, and ideology. Although higher status mothers of all races favor more popular birth names, high status liberal mothers more often choose uncommon, culturally obscure birth names. Liberals also favor birth names with "softer, feminine" sounds while conservatives favor names with "harder, masculine" phonemes. These findings have significant implications for both studies of consumption and debates about ideology and political fragmentation in the United States.

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