Children born earlier in the school year are more likely to be elected to parliament, according to a new study.
The researchers found that children who are the oldest in their class – September babies in the UK – are twice as likely to vote as their younger peers.
It is believed that this "relative age effect" (RAE) occurs because children born at the beginning of the school year are taller, have more responsibilities and are psychologically stronger than their peers.
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Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is born in December. Children born earlier in the school year are more likely to be elected to parliament, according to a new study
"The existence of a RAE in various professional sports and educational achievements is well documented," wrote researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in their work.
They analyzed whether the children's birthdays season influenced the likelihood that they would succeed as political candidates.
The authors examined a sample of data from Finland between 1996 and 2012.
Although the academic year in Finland starts every September, the start of the school year for a single person is determined by the calendar year.
The authors found that they were born on 1 January instead of 31 December in Finland (in the United Kingdom this corresponds to 1 September and 31 August), and the chances of being elected to parliament doubled nearly.
They found that "the closer the exact birth date of a January born New Year candidate is, the greater the likelihood of being elected in parliamentary elections."
Currently, 44 percent of men in the British Cabinet were born between September and November.
According to the study published in the European Journal of Political Economy, such "artificial rules imposed by society can lead to continued inequality".
Researchers found that children who are the oldest in their class – September babies in the UK – are twice as likely to vote in parliament as their younger peers. Sajid Javid, State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, was born in December
This discrepancy could lead to the "irreversible loss of potential talent among relatively young people in many areas of human life."
"This is particularly due to the men who have benefited from being able to successfully compete with peers at a young age," said Dr. Janne Tukiainen, Visiting Professor in the Government Department of LSE.
"Given our findings, it would be important for schools, such as sports clubs, to pay more attention to mental and physical maturity than age by sharing cohorts to create the conditions under which all people can reach their full potential."
The relative age effect was not apparent in female candidates nor in the relatively weak municipal elections.
Premature women and potential local candidates may be inappropriately looking for career opportunities in other sectors, the researchers suggest.
Dr. Tukiainen says that the "human capital accumulation process" means older children build up more confidence at a young age.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT LEARNING STYLES?
A popular and long-standing theory in education claims that people and especially children are more receptive to certain learning methods.
It states that people often fall into one of the three main categories: auditory, visual and kinesthetic.
There may be crossover between different styles, but one person will prefer one method more, experts say.
A visually dominant learner absorbs and stores information better, for example, when presented in pictures, charts and diagrams.
An auditory-dominant learner prefers to hear what is presented. He or she responds best to voices, for example in a lecture or in a group discussion.
People will often fall into one of the three main categories: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. There may be crossover between different styles, but one person will prefer one method more, experts say
It's also helpful to hear his own voice repeating to a tutor or trainer.
A kinaesthetically dominant learner prefers a physical experience. She likes a hands-on approach and responds well to touching or feeling an object or learning aid.
Although it has existed for a long time and is supported by 96 percent of teachers, recent studies have shown that the concept is inherently flawed.
Many researchers believe that the concept is wrong and people do not have a preferred learning method.