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” while conservatives favor more explicit signs of “economic capital”. 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, higher status, white liberal mothers more often choose uncommon, culturally obscure birth names. White 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.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 7, 2015
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