Anyone languishing in the shadow of a more financially successful sibling can take hope from a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which concludes that siblings' incomes tend to converge over the course of their lifetimes. This tendency is weaker among siblings on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. But it is stronger among black siblings overall—a counterintuitive finding, the authors write, that "begs for further research." The study suggests that even when factors relating to shared background—similarities in education and occupational prestige—are taken into account, roughly 60 percent of the phenomenon is unexplained, and may be genetically based. The researchers note, however, that they used the relatively simplistic "years of schooling" as a marker of education; it may be that shared educational status (as in a family whose children all attend private rather than public colleges) is responsible for some of the correlation.
—"Sibling Similarity and Difference in Socioeconomic Status: Life Course and Family Resource Effects," Dalton Conley and Rebecca Glauber, NBER
Taking in a child from abroad is often perceived as riskier than domestic adoption, because orphans in countries from which Westerners adopt often suffer from poor medical care, malnutrition, or abuse. But some of those fears may be put to rest by a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Two researchers from Leiden University, in the Netherlands, reviewed medical literature on the behavioral problems of adoptees in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and elsewhere in the developed world from the 1950s to the present. They concluded that children adopted from other countries were less likely than domestic adoptees to experience behavioral problems or to be referred for mental-health treatment. They postulate that the explanation may lie in part with the adoptive parents: those willing to adopt a child from overseas may be more "highly motivated to raise children" than parents who adopt from within their own country. In addition, they theorize, obvious racial differences between parents and children, which are more likely to exist in families formed through international adoption, may prevent parents from trying to keep the fact of the adoption a secret from their child, "resulting in more communication and trust."