You are hiring a new executive for your company. He or she will have the opportunity to make some large, high stakes investments that will shape the future direction of the firm. Should you care whether that individual was a first-born child or a younger sibling? Why would that matter?
Well, past research has shown that younger siblings engage in riskier behavior than their older brothers or sisters. A new study extends this body of work, examining whether we can see such birth-order effects in the course of the "daily work" of certain professionals. Researchers Frank J. Sulloway and Richard L. Zweigenhaft studied siblings who have played major league baseball. Sports, after all, offers a unique opportunity for scholars because of the extensive body of historical statistics that measure actions and results. The question: Do younger siblings steal more bases than older brothers? Amazingly, in more than 9 out of 10 cases, the younger sibling tried to steal more bases than the older brother, suggesting a propensity to take more risk. For more about this research, take a look at this story in the New York Times.