Bull markets, bear markets, and baby names

Way back in 2008, I posted about the weakening economy and its possible influence on baby naming trends. Specifically, I hypothesized “that unusual baby names are bestowed more frequently when times are good, and that traditional names make a comeback when things turn sour.”

Looks like the numbers back me up. A report published last year by the Socionomics Institute found that there is indeed a link between baby names and the economy.

Bear Markets Bring Conformist Baby Names

During bull markets, parents give their children “increasingly unique names.”

Bull markets are associated with positive social mood (optimism, individualism, creativity, willingness to take risks). The Institute says that, during these times, “parents feel that an unusual name will help their children stand out in a positive way.”

During bear markets, parents give their kids “increasingly ordinary names.”

Bear markets are associated with negative social mood (pessimism, doubt, fear, unwillingness to take risks). During these times, the tendency to choose ordinary names “reflects an evolutionary survival tactic: Blend with the herd in times of fear and uncertainty.”

The Institute forecasts that “declining social mood will produce less-risky, more-conformist baby names in coming bear-market years. As a corollary, we should see aggregate moves away from flamboyance in everything from fashion to architecture.”

Source (including image): Hall, Alan. “Socionomics Can Benefit Sociology: Baby Names.” Socionomist May 2010.

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