As a first-born kid, it comes as no surprise that a study has found second-born children are more likely to get in trouble and engage in criminal activity than their older siblings. If you’re reading this Sophie: I always knew you were the bad egg.
Joseph Doyle, an economist at MIT, and his colleagues studied sets of data involving thousands of brothers in Denmark and Florida, in order to figure out whether birth order affected the exhibition of delinquency.
The findings of the study were consistent between both countries, although not that surprising.
The authors of the study wrote: “Despite large differences in environments across the two areas, we find remarkably consistent results: In families with two or more children, second-born boys are on the order of 20 to 40 percent more likely to be disciplined in school and enter the criminal justice system compared to first-born boys even when we compare siblings.”
Previous research has also shown that those of us born first tend to have higher IQs, earn more money and perform better academically.
This is thought to be due to the amount of – or more precisely the lack of – attention second-borns receive. Where as the first kid tends to be doted on by the new parents, the novelty has worn off by the time the second comes around.
It’s also due in part to the ‘role model’ effect, which the more you think about it, the more it makes sense.
“The firstborn has role models, who are adults. And the second, later-born children have role models who are slightly irrational 2-year-olds, you know, their older siblings,” Doyle told NPR.
“Both the parental investments are different, and the sibling influences probably contribute to these differences we see in the labour market and what we find in delinquency. It’s just very difficult to separate those two things because they happen at the same time.”
Anyway the point of all this is: if you’re a second-born and you’re currently thinking about committing some terrible crime, please don’t, it’s unfair that the taxes of us higher-earning first-borns have to pay for it.