Study picks out criminal names

Swedish children given the names ‘Ronny’, ‘Conny’, ‘Benny’ or ‘Sonny’ are more likely to become criminals, according to a new study.

In agreement with a commonly-held notion among the country’s middle classes, the probe found that men with names ending in ‘y’ commonly have low socio-economic status and often lead lives of crime.

“We find that the y-name syndrome is empirically grounded; men with y-names are more likely to live in municipalities characterised by indicators of low socio-economic status and are over-represented among criminals,” Erik Segerborg and Mikael Soderstrom wrote in their thesis, which was presented at the Stockholm School of Economics last week.

The researchers looked at men from 26 municipalities across the country, as well as those in the care of the prison or probation services, to see if the y-name was overly represented in the criminal community. The results backed up the hypothesis, establishing a link between the names, criminality and socio-economic class.

Segerborg and Soderstrom have, however, been unable to offer any clear conclusions as to why this may be, as a separate study into whether men with such names are discriminated against in the job market proved inconclusive. Speaking to the Dagens Nyheter daily, the pair said they would have to give bosses identical CVs with only the names changed in order to discover if such prejudice forces the men to revert to other money-making methods.

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