The more… the better? The birth order effect on economic preferences in teenagers


Family composition and size have been changing over time. These changes are connected to parent’s preferences and decisions regarding the allocation of resources within the family. Family structure may affect the behavior and economic preferences of adolescents. For example, there is evidence that firstborns potentially receive more attention, time, and financial resources compared to later-borns, but also siblings compete over parental attention and resources which may drive younger to become more rebellious. These potential mechanisms might affect time, risk and social preferences. This paper analyzes the birth order effect on economic preferences (risk, time, and social preferences) in adolescents using a lab-in-the-field experiment with almost 3500 students. We controlled for potentially omitted variables such as cognitive abilities, social network measures and social integration.  We found that birth order has no effect on time and risk preferences, while this variable affects social preferences: Laterborns are more altruist and less spiteful than firstborns.


Status: Ongoing

Keywords: Birth order, Risk preferences, Time preferences