Disobedient Kids Make More Money as Adults

Study finds it's a strong indicator on future income
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2015 4:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – Parents at their wits' end over an unruly kid might take heart: The brat will probably grow up to earn more than his well-behaving peers, a new study in Development Psychology suggests. Researchers with the University of Luxembourg, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Free University of Berlin tracked data on 745 people in Luxembourg from the ages of 12 to 52 and discovered that those who defied authority as kids tended to have higher incomes as grownups, reports Quartz. In scientist-speak: "Rule breaking and defiance of parental authority was the best non-cognitive predictor of higher income after accounting for IQ, parental socio-economic status, and educational attainment," says the study, as quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Quartz notes that "occupational success" was measured by the researchers using an index that ranks careers based on prestige and socioeconomic status. Researchers floated some theories on why their conclusion might be the case: Defy-authority types might be more aggressive when negotiating salary or raises, and they might thrive on competition more than their peers. Also: They might be more willing to break the law or at least engage in iffy behavior to boost their income. The study has its limitations, including Luxembourg's small size, notes Management Today, but it "fits with other research that shows children who chafe against authority are more likely to go on to become entrepreneurs." (When it comes to careers, here are the 10 best jobs of 2015.)

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