Freakonomics Radio: How Much Does Your Name Matter?

Email a Friend

Broadcast Time: Tuesday, June 17 at 9pm on 93.9FM

When Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney typed her name in Google one day, she noticed something strange: an ad with the heading: “Latanya Sweeney, Arrested?” But she had never been arrested -- and neither had the only other Latanya Sweeney in the U.S. So why did the ad suggest so? 

Thousands of Google searches later, Sweeney discovered that Googling distinctively black names is more likely to produce an ad that suggests a criminal background. In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner investigates the latest research on names. Steve Levitt reveals what a name says about your economic status and race. And University of Chicago political scientist Eric Oliver explains why a baby named Cody is likely to have conservative parents, while Leif was probably born into a liberal family.