Do Masculine Names Help Female Lawyers Become Judges?


This paper provides the first empirical test of the Portia Hypothesis: Females with masculine monikers are more successful in legal careers. Utilizing South Carolina microdata, we look for correlation between an individual’s advancement to a judgeship and his/her name’s masculinity, which we construct from the joint empirical distribution of names and gender in the state’s entire population of registered voters. We find robust evidence that nominally masculine females are favored over other females. Hence, our results support the Portia Hypothesis.

Source: “Do Masculine Names Help Female Lawyers Become Judges? Evidence from South Carolina” from American Law and Economics Review 2009 11(1):112-133

If you want to read more about men, women and human nature I recommend this book as well as The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature.

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