FRIDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- People's success later in life may be influenced by the time of year in which they were born, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, found that babies born in the summer are less likely to make it to the top of the corporate ladder and become CEOs.
After examining a group of 375 CEOs of S&P 500 companies between 1992 and 2009, the researchers found that only 6.1 percent were born in June and 5.9 percent were born in July. In contrast, 12.5 percent of the CEOs had March birthdays and 10.7 percent were born in April.
Due to cut-off dates for school admission in the United States, children born in June and July often are the youngest in their class, while those with spring birthdays often are the oldest, the researchers pointed out.
"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," the study's co-author, Maurice Levi, professor of international finance at the University of British Columbia, said in a university news release.
"Older children within the same grade tend to do better than the youngest, who are less intellectually developed," Levi said. "Early success is often rewarded with leadership roles and enriched learning opportunities, leading to future advantages that are magnified throughout life."
The researchers said their findings suggest that the way the U.S. education system groups students by age could affect their later success in life.
"We could be excluding some of the business world's best talent simply by enrolling them in school too early," Levi said.
Although the study, which is scheduled for publication in the December issue of the journal Economics Letters, found an association between birth dates and corporate success, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The American Academy of Pediatrics provides information for parents on how to know if their child is ready for school.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SOURCE: University of British Columbia, news release, October 2012
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