Birth Order and Risky Adolescent Behavior

19 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2006

See all articles by Laura M. Argys

Laura M. Argys

University of Colorado at Denver - Department of Economics

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Susan L. Averett

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business

Benjama (Kwan) Witoonchart

University of Colorado at Boulder

Abstract

It is commonly believed that birth order is an important determinant of success. However, previous studies in this area have failed to provide convincing evidence that birth order is related to test scores, education, or earnings. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth - 1979, we investigate the association between birth order and adolescent behaviors such as smoking, drinking, marijuana use, sexual activity, and crime. Our estimates show that middle borns and last borns are much more likely to use substances and be sexually active than their firstborn counterparts. These results provide the strongest evidence to date that birth order is related to measurable behaviors.

Suggested Citation

Argys, Laura M. and Rees, Daniel I. and Averett, Susan and Witoonchart, Benjama (Kwan), Birth Order and Risky Adolescent Behavior. Economic Inquiry, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 215-233, April 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=906374

Laura M. Argys (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Denver - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364
United States
303-556-3547 (Fax)

Daniel I. Rees

University of Colorado Denver ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80218
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Susan Averett

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business ( email )

Easton, PA 18042
United States
610-250-5307 (Phone)
610-250-8961 (Fax)

Benjama (Kwan) Witoonchart

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

1070 Edinboro Drive
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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