If you have siblings, chances are you’ve felt like your older siblings have always been favored by your parents. While this may or may not be true, studies have shown that first-born children have a mental edge over their younger siblings.
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“Birth Order Effect”
While your parents may have given everyone the same amount of emotional support, studies show that a phenomenon known as the “birth order effect” may actually allow first-born children to enjoy better wages and education in life.
Some economists at the University of Edinburgh and at the University of Sydney examined data on children in the United States that assessed these children every two years from birth to 14 years old. They tested reading recognition, reading single words, and picture/vocab assessments. They also collected information on family background and economic conditions.
These studies found that first-born children generally exhibited higher IQ scores than their younger siblings. These findings have been shown to be prevalent by the age of one.
Parents with multiple children may exhibit the same amount of emotional support to everyone, first borns have been shown to receive more intellectual support that help with tasks such as reading and thinking skills. They generally had more time to spend working on crafts, reading to them, and playing instruments.
Before you freak out on your parents, know that not everything is their fault. As parents have more kids, it has been shown that parents take part in fewer “brain boosting” activities after their first one. They are also more likely to take more health risks while pregnant, such as smoking cigarettes.
Our results suggests that broad shifts in parental behaviour are a plausible explanation for the observed birth order differences in education and labour market outcomes.
– Dr Ana Nuevo-Chiquero School of Economics