Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Maybe there's something to this birth order thing after all? Econ prof's study shows second-borns are bigger gamblers

Skyler, our 19-month-old, has started scaling ladders and sliding down slides on his own. (When you try to help him--as I did, the first time he wanted to go up this thing--he pushes you away.) Second-borns are supposed to be more rebellious and greater risk-takers, and so far, this has held up. I wrote a recent San Francisco Chronicle column on this phenomenon--and how it may work in reverse for those of us who are the children of immigrants: Born to Rebel.

Interestingly, a recent study by Melayne McInnes, an associate professor in economics at University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business, suggests that the effects of birth-order on risk-taking are real:

“What we found is that older siblings were more averse to risk and more willing to wait to receive a higher payout,” Morgan said. “First-born siblings required more compensation if they were to going to assume more risk, and younger siblings had to be offered a higher rate of return for them to be willing to wait for a payout.” 
Gender and race, which have been thought to affect one’s risk aversion, proved not to be as strong an indicator as birth order, McInnes said.  “If birth order differences in risk and time preference matter, then we’d expect to see younger siblings initiating risky behaviors at earlier ages. Using a nationally representative data set with rich information about family characteristics, we find that the oldest siblings do not start smoking, drinking, or using marijuana as early as their younger brothers and sisters,” McInnes said.         

Meanwhile, Hudson, our almost-six-year-old, wouldn't go near that ladder until he was three.

Posted via email from OriginalSpin


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