Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Lionel Page, Professor in Economics, Queensland University of Technology

Whether you were born in December, January, August or September can have a significant and long-lasting impact on your life. Our new research shows your birthday month may also contribute to shaping your personality. In particular, we found people’s self-confidence can significantly differ because of their month of birth.

The reason isn’t your astrological sign, but rather the role your birth date plays in deciding when you enter school. Most countries specify when young children should start school using a cut-off date in the year.

For instance, in the UK the cut-off date is September 1. In federal nations such as Australia or the US, cut-off dates vary between states. Children who turn five by the cut-off date will start school, while children whose birthday is after the cut-off date will still be four and start school the following year.

Read more: Youngest in class twice as likely to take ADHD medication

The relative position of your birthday to the school cut-off date has one important consequence: it determines whether throughout primary and secondary school you are among the older, more mature, taller students in the class or not.

Relative age and career success

It’s well known that relative age at school can have a long lasting impact. A large body of research has shown, for example, students who were relatively old among their peers are more likely to become professional sports players. This pattern is evident across a wide range of sports in many different countries with different cut-off dates: soccer, ice hockey and AFL.

Famous footballers who were relatively old among their peers include for instance Pep Guardiola, the current manager of Manchester City.

How your birth date influences how well you do in school, and later in life In a previous study, we found US Congressmen are more likely to have been relatively old among their peers at school. from www.shutterstock.com

Studies have also found relatively old students do better at school. Even though the advantage tends to decrease over time, they are still slightly more likely to go to university. The long term impact on professional achievement doesn’t seem very large, but in some highly competitive environments, people who were relatively old at school are substantially over-represented.

This is the case among CEOs of large corporations. Previous research found this was also the case among leading US politicians.

The role of self-confidence

Our research suggests one of the main reasons for this “birthday effect” is the impact of relative age on self-confidence. Recent research shows children who enjoy being ranked relatively high compared to their peers have higher self-confidence. Being relatively old among your peers tends to place you higher in the distribution of achievement. Children who enjoy this throughout childhood can end up being more confident in their aptitude and carry this confidence with them later on.

Read more: When to send a child to school causes anxiety and confusion for parents

To test this idea, we conducted two studies. The first was with Australian school children in years eight to nine (13- to 15-year-olds) born one month apart from the school cut-off date.

We surveyed 661 children about their tendency to take risks and to feel confident. We found evidence some of the relatively old boys tended to be more competitive than their peers.

In the second study, we surveyed more than 1,000 Australian adults (24- to 60-year-olds) who were born on different sides of the cut-off date in their state. We found those who had been relatively old at school were more confident in their ability in a task involving simple mathematical calculations. They also indicated they were more willing to take risks in their lives than those who had been relatively young.

How your birth date influences how well you do in school, and later in life The main impact of the ‘birthday effect’ is on self-confidence. from www.shutterstock.com

Policies to mitigate the birthday effect

In a world where self-confidence and risk-taking is rewarded, these traits can give them an edge. Those who were relatively young may be at a disadvantage.

Understanding the somewhat unexpected effect of birth dates on personality traits is important. It can inform policies to mitigate the relative age effects.

For instance, it can help educators in their assessment and fostering of each child’s potential. In particular, it can help inform the design of curriculum and assessment programs to avoid the unintended penalty imposed on relatively young students who were born before the cut-off date rather than after it. It also means grouping children based on ability across age range may be a better solution than strict age-based classes.

Authors: Lionel Page, Professor in Economics, Queensland University of Technology

Read more http://theconversation.com/how-your-birth-date-influences-how-well-you-do-in-school-and-later-in-life-102401

Writers Wanted

How AI can help choose your next career and stay ahead of automation


4 gambling reform ideas from overseas to save Australia from gambling loss and harm


Digital finance: why you need financial marketing services


The Conversation


Prime Minister Scott Morrison's interview with Ray Hadley, 2GB

RAY HADLEY: Prime Minister, good morning to you.   PRIME MINISTER: G’day, Ray.   HADLEY: Gee, you’ve had a week.   PRIME MINISTER: Well, there's been a lot of weeks like this. This time last...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Ray Hadley's interview with Scott Morrison

RAY HADLEY: I'm going to go straight to the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is on the line right now. Prime Minister, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ray.   HADLEY: Just d...

Ray Hadley - avatar Ray Hadley

Defence and Veterans suicide Royal Commission

Today the Government has formally established a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide following approval by the Governor-General.   Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Royal Commi...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

What Your Company Can Do to Promote Diversity and Inclusivity

Turning a profit is the ultimate objective of all companies. To achieve that goal, enterprises typically focus on ways to maximize customer satisfaction and control the prices of their products. H...

Shan Ge - avatar Shan Ge

How to Prepare your Business for the Next Lockdown

Business owners from all over Australia are becoming increasingly restless amid the crisis meetings, snap lockdowns in Melbourne, and rise of the delta variant across the country. The cases are ri...

NewsServices.com - avatar NewsServices.com

Things You need to Know about Magento Commerce

Magento (and Magento Commerce) has proven to be a popular platform for large eCommerce businesses. Magento is responsible for 31.4 percent of the top 100,000 eCommerce sites, as per Salmon. Howev...

NewsServices.com - avatar NewsServices.com