Friday, November 01, 2013

The Curse of the First Born

If you are a first born, you probably think your younger brothers and sisters got away with everything. They did. That's the finding of a National Bureau of Economic Research study that examines why first-born children, on average, do better in school than their younger siblings.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, the NBER researchers find "robust empirical evidence" that school performance declines with birth order—and so does parental discipline. First borns tend to do better in school because their parents demand it, say the researchers. Later-born children don't do as well because parents slack off, hoping their effort with the first born rubs off on younger siblings. Apparently it doesn't.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Strategic Parenting, Birth Order and School Performance, NBER Working Paper 19542 ($5)

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