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Second-born brothers are more likely to be criminals, research shows

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Alex Finnis
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Second-born children are more likely to be criminals, research shows 1

As first-born kids we’ve always known it - our younger siblings are less intelligent, less attractive and generally just inferior to us. I mean come on, it’s obvious.

But new research carried out by MIT economist Joseph Doyle and his colleagues shows that second-born kids are also more likely to end up in the clink than their older siblings. Don’t worry guys, we’re all so rich and successful that we’ll be able to bail you out.

Thousands of pairs of brothers in both Denmark and Florida, USA (strange two places to choose, but OK) were tested, and the research was consistent across both countries - younger brothers were much more likely to get themselves in trouble.

The study reads: “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% more likely to be disciplined in school and enter the criminal justice system compared to first-born boys even when we compare siblings.”

Second-born brothers are more likely to be criminals, research shows

Both of these guys are probably criminals, tbh

But why are our younger siblings so much more likely to go rogue than us? Well, it’s probably for roughly the reason you’d expect.

The eldest sibling tends to get a lot of attention growing up, being the first, but then when the second child comes around, there’s an air of ‘been there, done that’.

There’s also the fact that first-born kids automatically look up to their parents as role model - i.e. competent adults - whereas the second-born is likely to look up to their older brother or sister, who you have to remember is probably about five.

Doyle told NPR: “The first-born has role models, who are adults. And the second, later-born children have role models who are slightly irrational two-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.”

I guess the moral of the story is: First-born children are the best, and our younger brothers are dumb idiots who deserve to go to jail. Knew it.

(Main image: Rex)

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Alex Finnis

Alex is the Editor of ShortList.com

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