Evidence on the Efficacy of School-Based Incentives for Healthy Living

27 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2011  

Harold E. Cuffe

Victoria University of Wellington

William T. Harbaugh

University of Oregon - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jason M. Lindo

Texas A&M University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Giancarlo Musto

University of Lyon 2 - Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE)

Glen R. Waddell

University of Oregon - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: October 2011

Abstract

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

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

Harold E. Cuffe (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington ( email )

William T. Harbaugh

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Oregon - Department of Economics ( email )

Eugene, OR 97403
United States
541-346-1244 (Phone)
541-346-1243 (Fax)

Jason M. Lindo

Texas A&M University ( email )

Langford Building A
798 Ross St.
College Station, TX 77843-3137
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Giancarlo Musto

University of Lyon 2 - Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE) ( email )

93, chemin des Mouilles
Ecully, 69130
France

Glen R. Waddell

University of Oregon - Department of Economics ( email )

Eugene, OR 97403
United States
541-346-1259 (Phone)
541-346-1243 (Fax)

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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