The Chastain Effect: Using Title IX to Measure the Causal Effect of Participating in High School Sports on Adult Women's Social Lives
23 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2013
Date Written: December 12, 2013
Many studies have sought to estimate the effects of participating in sports on ex-athletes’ adult lives. This paper contributes to the existing literature in two ways. First, it adopts an instrumental-variables method pioneered by Betsey Stevenson (2010) in which variation in rates of boys’ athletic participation across states before the passage of Title IX is used to instrument for changes in girls’ athletic participation following its passage, thereby avoiding selection bias and allowing for causal estimates. Second, it looks at the effect of participating in sports not on economic, but on social outcomes. In particular, we find that a ten percentage-point increase in state-level female sports participation generates a five to six percentage-point rise in the rate of female secularism, a five percentage-point increase in the proportion of women who are mothers, and a six percentage-point rise in the proportion of mothers who, at the time that they are interviewed, are single mothers. While our results appear to paint a picture of independence from potentially patriarchal institutions (church and marriage), further research is necessary to understand whether our results can be attributed to a single story such as this one or whether they are the products of multiple causal mechanisms.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation