nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2017‒05‒28
two papers chosen by

  1. Born to Lead? The Effect of Birth Order on Non-Cognitive Abilities By Sandra E. Black; Erik Grönqvist; Björn Öckert
  2. Early lead exposure and outcomes in adulthood By Grönqvist, Hans; Nilsson, J Peter; Robling, Per-Olof

  1. By: Sandra E. Black; Erik Grönqvist; Björn Öckert
    Abstract: We study the effect of birth order on personality traits among men using population data on enlistment records and occupations for Sweden. We find that earlier born men are more emotionally stable, persistent, socially outgoing, willing to assume responsibility, and able to take initiative than later-borns. In addition, we find that birth order affects occupational sorting; first-born children are more likely to be managers, while later-born children are more likely to be self-employed. We also find that earlier born children are more likely to be in occupations that require leadership ability, social ability and the Big Five personality traits. Finally, we find a significant role of sex composition within the family. Later-born boys suffer an additional penalty the larger the share of boys among the older siblings. When we investigate possible mechanisms, we find that the negative effects of birth order are driven by post-natal environmental factors. We also find evidence of lower parental human capital investments in later-born children.
    JEL: J13 J24
    Date: 2017–05
  2. By: Grönqvist, Hans (Department of economics, Uppsala university, IFAU, UCLS); Nilsson, J Peter (Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, IFAU, UCLS); Robling, Per-Olof (Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University,)
    Abstract: We exploit the phase-out of leaded gasoline to isolate the impact of early childhood lead exposure on outcomes in adulthood. By combining administrative data on school performance, high school graduation, crime, earnings, and cognitive and non-cognitive skills with a novel measure of lead exposure, we follow 800,000 children from birth into adulthood. We find that reduced lead exposure improves the adult outcomes, particularly among boys. Below certain thresholds, the relationship becomes much weaker. Non-cognitive traits (externalizing behavior, conscientiousness, and neuroti-cism) follow a similar non-linear dose response pattern and seem to be the key mediators between early lead exposure and adult outcomes.
    Keywords: environmental policy; human capital; crime; non-cognitive skills
    JEL: I18 K42 Q53
    Date: 2017–05–15

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