Enter the Dragon

Researchers find that children born in the Year of the Dragon are more likely to succeed
Children born during the Chinese zodiac sign of the Dragon appear to be more likely to be successful at school and more likely to go to – and succeed at - university, according to the results of a study published by two professors from the Louisiana State University. The two researchers - Naci H Mocan and Han Yu – wanted to test the theory that “in Chinese culture those who are born in the year of the Dragon under the zodiac calendar are believed to be destined for good fortune and greatness” by examining provincial data from the Mainland. “Because there is no biological reason for people who are born in a certain time period to be more successful economically in comparison to those who are born in adjacent time periods, it is surprising that this superstition has persisted for many centuries,” say the researchers, noting that their studies examine “whether a cultural belief about the characteristics of a group of people is self-fulfilling”. The findings of the results indicate that “even though children born in a Dragon year are no different from other children in the dimensions we observe in our data, ranging from cognitive ability to family background, from self-esteem to expectations and aspirations about their future, these students are more successful in school”. The reason is largely related to the parents, their beliefs and manifestations of those beliefs, with the researchers finding that “the parents of Dragon children have higher expectations of their children and they invest in their children more intensely” with the end results that “these higher expectations yield better educational outcomes,” ergo: “‘These expectations create this self-fulfilling prophecy”. Reasoning The prosperity of bearing children during the Dragon year was recorded in two spikes in fertility rate registered in Hong Kong in the Dragon years of 1988 and 2000, with similar spikes also registered “among Chinese in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia . . . suggesting that people of Asian culture indeed time their birth”. Contradictorily, the report notes that “no evidence was found in Mainland China to indicate the existence of birth timing for Dragon children,” most likely influenced by the Cultural Revolution and the One Child Policy in place until the beginning of 2016. Despite the timing not being proven, the researchers found that “using national and provincial data on live births we show that the number of live births spiked in the two most recent Dragon years” of 2000 and 2012. In addition, “the number of marriages goes up during the two years before a Dragon year,” say the researchers. Starting from birth, parents place more importance on their infants’ education and wellbeing, note the researchers, pointing out they “are more involved in their children’s education (they have a higher propensity to talk to their child’s teacher spontaneously during a semester), they are more likely to enroll their child in kindergarten, they give their child more pocket money, and they protect their child from doing chores around the house”. The results speak for themselves: “Chinese middle school students have higher test scores if they are born in a Dragon year,” the researchers state. With regard to gaining admission to university in China, they found that “all else the same, the National College Entrance Examination scores of those who are born in a Dragon zodiac are around 7.5 points higher” than their cohorts. In addition, “those born in a Dragon year have 11 percentage points higher probability of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree or higher in comparison to individuals born in other zodiac years,” while if the Dragon child’s parents have a degree, “his/her propensity to obtain a Bachelor’s degree is increased by around 27 and 21 percentage points, respectively”.