China's "little emperors" - kids born under the controversial one-child norm - are less competitive, more risk-averse and significantly more pessimistic than those born before the policy was implemented in 1979, a new study has claimed.
While concerns about the "one child"
practice in China, the world's most populous nation, have been expressed before, Australian researchers have now presented proof that these worries may not be totally unfounded.
"We found that people born under the one-child policy were significantly less trusting and less trustworthy, significantly less likely to take risks and less competitive than those who were born before," lead author of the study professor Lisa Cameron, from Monash University in Victoria, told the BBC's Science in Action programme.
"We also conducted personality surveys and we found that those born under the one-child policy were less conscientious, slightly more neurotic and significantly more pessimistic than those born before," she said.
Researchers said the one-child policy has significant ramifications for ageing Chinese society, leading to less risk-taking in the labour market and possibly fewer entrepreneurs.
China's population-control policy was introduced in 1979, and it restricts couples in urban areas to have only one child.
The study compared people who were born just before the policy was introduced with those born after.
"In China, there is a very common belief that the one-child generation is spoilt and selfish and they are not hardworking," said Professor Xin Meng, from the Australian National University in Canberra.