Could she be a judge some day?

Will Cameron be a Judge?

It’s impossible to know, but maybe little Cameron will become a judge one day.

As reported in the Boston Globe, a study concludes that girls given masculine names are 3x more likely to become judges than the average Sally or Sue:

Because President Obama is a lawyer and his mother had a commonly male first name (Stanley), he might appreciate this study out of Clemson. The authors calculated the “masculinity” of every first name in South Carolina as the fraction of registered voters with that name who were male. Then, they compared the average masculinity of female voters’ names to the average masculinity of female judges’ names in the state. While the average masculinity of female voters’ names was 0.026, the value for female judges’ names was 0.084. The authors estimate that changing a girl’s name from “Sue” to “Kelly” increased her odds of becoming a judge by 5 percent, but changing her name to “Cameron” increased her odds by a factor of three.

Coffey, B. & McLaughlin, P., “Do Masculine Names Help Female Lawyers Become Judges? Evidence from South Carolina,” American Law and Economics Review (Spring 2009).

Original article in American Law and Economics Review (paywall)

Boston Globe blurb (16 Aug 2009)

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