Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Department

Economics

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Using baby names a signal for cultural attitudes has been studied before several times. This paper looks at trends in baby names across the United States over five decades, and then uses these trends to look at the quasi-natural experiment of Alaska and Hawaii becoming states and accepting the dominant United States culture as their own. Both Alaska and Hawaii have their own indigenous cultures which could influence their cultural assimilation to the United States, this paper uses baby names to measure this assimilation. By using vector auto-regressions and the time period between 1960 and 2013 this paper determines the effect that nationally popular names for each decade have on the names chosen by Alaska and Hawaii. This process determines whether or not the ranking of popular names in the United States influences the rank of names in Alaska and Hawaii. These patterns will be analyzed and will be used to assess the level of cultural assimilation that Alaska and Hawaii have made over time since they became states.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. David Beckworth

Disciplines

Business | Community-Based Research | Economics

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