27 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2011
Date Written: October 2011
We analyze the effects of a school-based incentive program on children's exercise habits. The program offers children an opportunity to win prizes if they walk or bike to school during prize periods. We use daily child-level data and individual fixed effects models to measure the impact of the prizes by comparing behavior during prize periods with behavior during non-prize periods. Variation in the timing of prize periods across different schools allows us to estimate models with calendar-date fixed effects to control for day-specific attributes, such as weather and proximity to holidays. On average, we find that being in a prize period increases riding behavior by sixteen percent, a large impact given that the prize value is just six cents per participating student. We also find that winning a prize lottery has a positive impact on ridership over subsequent weeks; consider heterogeneity across prize type, gender, age, and calendar month; and explore differential effects on the intensive versus extensive margins.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Cuffe, Harold E. and Harbaugh, William T. and Lindo, Jason M. and Musto, Giancarlo and Waddell, Glen R., Evidence on the Efficacy of School-Based Incentives for Healthy Living (October 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17478. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1938901