Monday, May 30, 2005

Freakonomics and name trendiness

I just finished reading the book Freakonomics, where Steven D. Levitt, rogue economist, applies the economist's toolset to questions like, "Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime?" Levitt uses data mining and regression analysis to really tease out some fascinating answers to these questions. I highly recommend it.

In the last chapter, Levitt studies baby name trends, and predicts the most popular baby names of 2015. I have a friend who has just had his second child, and both of his children have names off of that list; I'll have to let him know he's ahead of the curve.

The study of name trendiness reminded me of the strangely engrossing java-based "Baby NameVoyager", which lets you interactively browse the Social Security baby name popularity data through the years. NameVoyager even has a "name trends" blog, if you just can't get enough.


At 11:26 PM, May 30, 2005, Blogger kendra said...

wow. i'm happy that my name's not on that list. nothing's more emberassing than a totally dated name.

At 9:38 PM, October 18, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 9:12 PM, December 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See here for some data on how first name relates to salary


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