Are CEOs More Likely to Be First-Borns?

41 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2017 Last revised: 21 May 2020

See all articles by Claudia Custodio

Claudia Custodio

Imperial College London; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Stephan Siegel

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business; CESifo

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Date Written: February 27, 2020

Abstract

We investigate the link between birth order and the career outcome of becoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company. CEOs are more likely to be the first-born, i.e., oldest, child of their family relative to what one would expect if birth order did not matter for career outcomes. Both male and female CEOs are more likely to be first-born. However, the first-born advantage seems to largely reflect the absence of an older brother, but not of an older sister. These results are more pronounced for family firms, where traditionally the oldest child is appointed to run the family business, but also hold for non-family firms.

Keywords: CEO, first born, birth order, family firm, rearing environment, upbringing

Suggested Citation

Custodio, Claudia and Siegel, Stephan, Are CEOs More Likely to Be First-Borns? (February 27, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3029896 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3029896

Claudia Custodio

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

Stephan Siegel (Contact Author)

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )

Box 353200
Seattle, WA 98195-3200
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.washington.edu/ss1110/

CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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