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

Liberellas Versus Konservatives: Social Status, Ideology, and Birth Names in the United States 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

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

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-015-9306-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

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” 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.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 7, 2015

References

  • Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination
    Bertrand, M; Mulainathan, S

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