Friday, 17 May 2013


Hello. My name is Kostas Economides and I am a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the South of England (USE for short). Well, actually that is not true really as the names of individuals and institutions in this blog have been changed to protect the innocent - and the guilty!

When checking the odds for the Eurovision Song Contest entries I noticed that bookmakers are also offering bets on the name of Kate and Wills' soon to be born baby. The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall haven't yet revealed what gender the baby will be but looking at the betting odds it seems that other people are expecting it to be a girl.

Unsurprisingly high up the list of anticipated names are Elizabeth (5-1) and Diana (11-2), although Alexandra (7-4) is the current favourite (William Hill odds).

The most backed boy's names are George, Charles and Phillip. Amusingly you can get odds on some very unlikely names; Wayne (250-1), Chardonnay (250-1) and Elvis (500-1).

You can also bet on the day of the birth (it is expected to be 31st May), the method of delivery (natural or caesarian) and the colour of the baby's hair.

All this reminds me of a chapter in the Freakonomics book that looked at the extent to which the choice of a child's name appeared to affect the child's opportunities later in life. However I don't suppose it really matters for a Royal.

In Greece of course you tend to be called after your father or maybe grandfather if you are a boy, and there are fewer names that people choose from. Giorgos is the most popular boys name (about 11% of males according to this website). And the most popular name for a girl is Maria. Kostantinos (or Kostas in its shortened version) comes in just outside the top ten male names.

Gus has told me that you can see fashions in names as the cohorts of students come through. Harry and Jack are top of the list for boy's names in 2012 with Amelia and Lily at the top of the girls names list. But in our current group of students who were born about twenty years ago we seem to have a lot of Michaels, Christophers and Matthews, Sarahs, Emilys and Graces. Some of this seems to check out with the information here

PS Greece was one of the survivors in the second Eurovision Song Contest semi-final last night and so will be there in tomorrow night's final. The song has the intriguing title "Alcohol is Free".

PPS Readers of my blog have been sending in further examples of exam bloopers. One I particularly like is where a student, wishing to refer to gilt-edged securities, talked about "guilts"!

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