Does Athletic Success Influence Persistence at Higher Education Institutions? New Evidence Using Panel Data

19 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2017

See all articles by Daniel Hickman

Daniel Hickman

University of Idaho - College of Business & Economics

Andrew Meyer

Marquette University

Date Written: October 2017

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between athletic success and student persistence toward a degree. We build an updated panel of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I institutions and utilize within‐institution variation to identify the effects of athletic success. Using a ranking of all institutions, we find that having more successful men's basketball and football teams has a significant positive effect on first‐year retention rates. We also find some evidence that improved basketball rankings increase graduation rates, and that success in the NCAA tournament may have a sizable impact on retention. Although the estimated effects are generally modest in scale, we find rather limited evidence of other institutional factors affecting persistence, suggesting that athletics can be one avenue for institutions of higher education to engage and retain students.

JEL Classification: I23, Z20, L83

Suggested Citation

Hickman, Daniel and Meyer, Andrew, Does Athletic Success Influence Persistence at Higher Education Institutions? New Evidence Using Panel Data (October 2017). Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 35, Issue 4, pp. 658-676, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3026726 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/coep.12208

Daniel Hickman (Contact Author)

University of Idaho - College of Business & Economics ( email )

Moscow, ID 83944-3174
United States

Andrew Meyer

Marquette University ( email )

1225 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53233
United States
414-288-5489 (Phone)

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