Researchers David E. Kalist and Daniel Y. Lee have again published a study linking unusual first names to criminal behavior (specifically, juvenile delinquency).
The study, published in Social Science Quarterly, is described over at Live Science (Boys With Unpopular Names More Likely to Break Law). Here’s an excerpt:
While the names are likely not the cause of crime, the researchers argue that “they are connected to factors that increase the tendency to commit crime, such as a disadvantaged home environment, residence in a county with low socioeconomic status, and households run by one parent.”
I haven’t read the study, so I can’t comment on its legitimacy…but I was surprised that the authors would claim their findings could help “identify individuals at high risk of committing or recommitting crime, leading to more effective and targeted intervention programs.”
…Using unpopular names to pick out the “bad” kids? Seems discriminatory to me. I think the correlation between names and crime would need to be extremely strong to justify a practice like that.
What are your thoughts?