Many of you who are the first of multiple children in your family will not be surprised by the news that there is definitely something wrong with your younger sibling. For years us first-borns have been trying to justify our claim that we are superior in nearly every way, and now we can back up our argument with some cold, hard scientific facts.
Joseph Doyle is an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he and his clever colleagues looked at different sets of data involving thousands of brothers in both Florida and Denmark, the idea being to discover whether the order we are born affects how we behave.
The results of their study, which were consistent across both locations, showed what us first-borns already knew; our younger siblings have ‘issues’…
The people in charge 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’.
They went on to say ‘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’.
We can translate what they’re saying into a more basic format for you: Parents try harder with their first-borns, and by the time their second child comes around they don’t care as much as they used to. We’re right, no?
But let us show some support to the second-borns for a minute. Because what the report is saying is that us first-borns didn’t set them a good example, and it’s no shock that they behave as they do. But wait a second, because if we were only a couple of years old ourselves, that’s hardly surprising is it not?
If you are the oldest child in your family and you have a younger sibling, be sure to let them know the scientific proof behind what you had always suspected. And if you yourself are the second-born, be sure to blame your older brother or sister for the terrible example they set you.