The difference between first- and third-borns was 54 per cent.
The relative probability of second-borns studying arts programmes was 27 per cent higher than the first-borns, while the difference was 36 per cent between third-borns and first-borns.
The sibling differences in choice of university programme was not just a consequence of first-borns having better grades in school.
It was more due to parental investment in the early years as it plays a crucial role in shaping the siblings' ability, preferences and ambitions even within the shared environment of the family, the researchers said.
"Our results suggest that parents invest more in earlier-born children than in later-borns and that this shapes sibling differences in ability and ambitions even within the family," said Kieron Barclay, demographer at Max Planck Institute.
"First-borns benefit exclusively from parents' attention as long as they are the only child at home. This gives them a head start," said Mikko Myrskyla, Director at the Institute, in the paper published in the journal Social Forces.
Moreover, in terms of relative probabilities, not only do second-borns differ from first-borns in terms of career choice, the trend towards choosing "less prestigious occupations" increases with every further child.
For example, the probability of second-borns taking up journalism is 16 per cent more likely than first-borns, while third-borns and fourth-borns are, respectively, 40 per cent and 60 per cent more likely to do so.
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