Swedish researchers Mahmood Arai and Peter Skogman Thoursie have found that “immigrants to Sweden earn more money after they change their foreign-sounding names.”
They tracked the earnings of hundreds of African, Asian and Slavic immigrants in Sweden who “changed their names to be ethnically neutral or a bit more Swedish-sounding” between 1991 and 2000.
After their name changes, these immigrants saw an average earnings increase of 141%.
The researchers believe the immigrants were able to land more job interviews and, as a result, increase their employment opportunities. “Employers might sort out the applicants with foreign-sounding names due to [notions] about abilities and characteristics assumed to be associated with such names.”
The study, which focused on surnames, was published in the Journal of Labor Economics in 2009.
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