Economists analyse the oft-quoted remark on the ironic significance of names in the famous soliloquy “What’s in a name … a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. This is a poetic illustration of the argument that it is not the name of things that matter but rather what they actually are. Whilst it is true that a rose would emit the same volatilised chemical compounds if it were named something else this does not necessarily mean names do not matter.
Take the labour market for instance. Would equally qualified employees with different names receive the same or different treatment when applying for jobs? Furthermore, does this mean there are economic costs and benefits associated with certain names?