As the political philosopher Mel Brooks once noted, it’s good to be king. But according to a new study, it’s also good to simply have the name King.
At least, that’s true in Germany. Researchers report Germans with “noble-sounding surnames” such as Kaiser (emperor), Fürst (prince) or König (king) were more likely to hold managerial positions than countrymen with names denoting more common occupations.
Apparently, having a name that denotes authority is a good way to get promoted.
The study, by Raphael Silberzahn of the University of Cambridge and Eric Luis Uhlmann of HEC Paris, looked at 222,924 private-sector employees and managers, with a total of 84 different last names. They focused on 11 names associated with nobility, such as Baron and Edler (nobleman), and compared them to a long list of names associated with commonplace occupations, including Jäger (hunter) and Baumann (builder).
“Among Germans with noble-sounding names, we found 2.7 percent more managers per hundred people than expected, on average,” they write in the journal Psychological Science. In contrast, they found 1.1 percent fewer managers among Germans with last names referring to four of the most common occupations.
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