Do High School Sports Build or Reveal Character?

38 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2017  

Michael R. Ransom

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Tyler Ransom

University of Oklahoma; Institute for the Study of Labor (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

JEL Classification: I20, J24

Suggested Citation

Ransom, Michael R. and Ransom, Tyler, Do High School Sports Build or Reveal Character?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11110. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3069453

Michael R. Ransom (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics ( email )

130 Faculty Office Bldg.
Provo, UT 84602-2363
United States
801-422-4736 (Phone)
801-422-0194 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://fhss.byu.edu/econ/ransom/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Tyler Ransom

University of Oklahoma ( email )

729 Elm Avenue
Norman, OK 73019-2103
United States

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

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

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