10/25/2012 11:06 am ET

Kids Starting Kindergarten Later Might Be A Good Idea

By: Chad Brooks, BusinessNewsDaily Contributor
Published: 10/25/2012 06:42 AM EDT on BusinessNewsDaily

Parents who decide to hold summer babies back and have them start kindergarten a year later may be onto something.

New research finds that kids born in the summer are less likely to grow up to be company CEOs, mainly because being younger puts them at a disadvantage in school, according to researchers.

A study by researchers at the University of British Columbia revealed that a person's date of birth could affect their chances at becoming a CEO. An examination of company leaders in the S&P 500 found that just 6.13 percent of CEOs were born in June and less than 6 percent in July, compared with a combined 23 percent with birthdays in March and April.

"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 Maurice Levi, a finance professor and co-author of the study.

With cutoff dates for school admission in the U.S. falling between September and January, the researchers determined that those CEOs born between June and July were the youngest in their class during school, while those in March and April were the oldest.

"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."

Levi argues that the results add to the growing evidence that the way the current education system groups students by age impacts their lifelong success.

"We could be excluding some of the business world's best talent simply by enrolling them in school too early," he said.

The study, co-authored by Ph.D. students Qianqian Du and Huasheng Gao, investigated the birth-date effect in a sample of 375 CEOs from S&P 500 companies between 1992 and 2009. It is scheduled to appear in the December issue of the journal Economics Letters.

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