Massive Study Confirms The Curse Of The Second-Born Child Is Real

July 13, 2017

According to a new report from MIT economist Joseph Doyle, the "curse of the second-born child" might actually be true.

curse of second child true study
Credit: Barrus Photography

Doyle and his colleagues studied tens of thousands of children in Denmark and Florida to figure out if birth order had any effect on the likelihood of a person engaging in trouble in school, juvenile delinquency, or adult crime.

The study found that second-born children (specifically boys) were 20-40% more likely to face discipline at school or in the court system than first-born children.

But why?

Doyle explained in an interview with NPR:

"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. 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."

However, it is important to note that this research is painting a broad picture.

"It doesn't describe what's happening in every single family," he says.

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