During the study, 1,583 chief executive officers were asked about their order of birth. Forty three per cent of them said that they were born first, way ahead of the 23 per cent born last and the 33 per cent of those who were born in the middle.
Published by USA Today newspaper, the findings have emerged weeks after a Science journal report suggested that eldest children tended to have a higher IQ, and achieve more in school than their younger siblings.
The researchers say that the results of the new study indicate that the first-born children make the best use of their educational advantage, reports the Daily Mail.
The first-born business executives surveyed included Microsoft boss Steve Balmer, Andrea Jung of Avon cosmetics and investment tycoon Charles Schwab. Successful British first-borns included Sir Richard Branson and JK Rowling.
In order to collect the data required for the study, the researchers sent a questionnaire to members by Vistage, the world's largest CEO organisation.
Business tycoons also said that one of the reasons for their success was the undivided attention they received from their parents. They also said that they had felt the pressure of greater expectations, and were forced to become self-sufficient with no older brother or sister to look after them.
Ben Dattner, Psychology professor at New York University, said that first-born children rose to the top because they were often more confident, assertive, conscientious and fearful of losing position and rank.
He, however, conceded that there existed evidence that first-borns were not always the best bosses, and that those born later were more likely to take risks and challenge the status quo.