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Do High School Sports Build or Reveal Character?

Michael Ransom () and Tyler Ransom ()

No 11110, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: We examine the extent to which participation in high school athletics has beneficial effects on future education, labor market, and health outcomes. Due to the absence of plausible instruments in observational data, we use recently developed methods that relate selection on observables with selection on unobservables to estimate bounds on the causal effect of athletics participation. We analyze these effects in the US separately for men and women using three different nationally representative longitudinal data sets that each link high school athletics participation with later-life outcomes. We do not find consistent evidence of individual benefits reported in many previous studies – once we have accounted for selection, high school athletes are no more likely to attend college, earn higher wages, or participate in the labor force. However, we do find that men (but not women) who participated in high school athletics are more likely to exercise regularly as adults. Nevertheless, athletes are no less likely to be obese.

Keywords: human capital; high school sports (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-lma and nep-spo
Date: 2017-10
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Published in: Economics of Education Review, 2018, 64 (1), 75-89

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