Think your birthday only mattered when you were waiting out the never-ending months until you could finally get your license? We're sorry to tell you, your birth date might have more bearing on your life than you think.
A recent study out of UBC's Sauder School of Business found that a surprising proportion of a sample of S&P 500 CEOs were born in March and April, as opposed to June and July — almost double the number of executives were born towards the beginning of the year.
The study looked at these four months, taking into account the North American of school admission cut-offs ranging between September and January, making the March and April babies the oldest in their classes, and the June and July babies the youngest.
“Our findings indicate that summer babies underperform in the ranks of CEOs as a result of the ‘birth-date effect,’ a phenomenon resulting from the way children are grouped by age in school,” said Professor Maurice Levi of UBC, who co-authored the study that's set to appear in Economics Letters' December issue.
The school certainly isn't the first place to study this effect. Malcolm Gladwell's blockbuster book "Outliers" famously identified hockey players born in January and February as being more successful in the profession, thanks to their size and getting drafted at the beginning of the year.
And UBC's findings of older kids in the same grade faring better than those who are younger fall right in love with one educational theory. An extensive study undertaken in 2009 at Cambridge University looked at the British educational system and demonstrated the potential pitfalls of the education system on those born in the summer, due to school's start date in September. Among other discoveries, the paper found the birth-date effects were most prominent in infant and primary school years, and that students may be misdiagnosed for special education needs due simply to being younger.
"Older children within the same grade tend to do better than the youngest, who are less intellectually developed,” explained Levi. “Early success is often rewarded with leadership roles and enriched learning opportunities, leading to future advantages that are magnified throughout life.”
But it's not all doom and gloom for those sunny summer day babies — in fact, quite the opposite. According to an article in Nature Neuroscience, while winter babies apparently have circadian clocks that move slower, thanks to being born when the days are darker, babies born in the summer are happier due to literally being born into the light.
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