Washington, Feb 24 : A new research provides a possible explanation as to why elder siblings tend to earn more and get more education than the younger ones.
The study led by Economics professor Joseph Price Brigham from Young University suggest that parents spend 3,000 more hours of quality time with the first child between 4 to 13 years than the next siblings when they pass through the same age.
Price analysed the data from the American Time Use Survey, a federal government study involving 21,000 people.
Previous studies also showed that Birth order played a vital role in child outcomes. A study led by Sandra Black and two colleagues had found that older siblings get more education and make more money than their younger brothers and sisters.
"Joe's work has taken a big first step in helping us understand what is driving these birth order differences," said Black, a co-editor of the Journal of Human Resources.
"It's among the first to use a large dataset to document systematic differences in parental investments by birth order," she added.
Price's study revealed that the amount of time parents spend with children on a daily basis declines, as families get older. More of the time is spent on activities not considered to be "quality" time, such as watching TV. "Joe Price convincingly demonstrates that parents spend more time with their oldest child - probably largely without realizing it or intending to treat their children unequally, as parents tend to be committed to a norm of 'equal treatment' for all children," said Suzanne Bianchi, a sociologist at the University of Maryland who studies time use.
"If your goal as a parent is to equalize outcomes across your children, you should be aware of this natural pattern and try to give younger children more quality time," said Price.
The study appears in the new issue of the Journal of Human Resources.