A fascinating sociological study by Baptiste Coulmont who analyses every year the first names of students who received a “mention très bien” (the highest distinction) at the baccalauréat. First names do not influence results, but they reveal the social background of the student – and therefore his/her chances – as names get trendy in different parts of French society at different times.
Not surprisingly, posh French names are on top of the rankings, with immigrants and american influenced (= TV influenced) names at the bottom.
“More than 25% of the Madeleine, Irene, Come and Ariane who passed the exam received a mention très bien. More than one Marie-Anne, one Anne-Claire and one Gaspard of five received the mention, obtained by 15% of Violette, Apolline, Iris, Beatrice, Judith, Domitille, Hortense, Fleur, Daphne, Noe, Lara, Henri, Adele, Rose, Augustin, Astrid and Eleonore. [...]
On the opposite side, none of the 125 Youssef and 105 Nabil got the mention, [...] and only one or two Sandy, Alison or Sofiane get the mention. 4 Christopher (on 300) and 5 Mohamed (on 400). 8 Cassandra and 8 Sabrina on 470.