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

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  • Harold E. Cuffe
  • William T. Harbaugh
  • Jason M. Lindo
  • Giancarlo Musto
  • Glen R. Waddell

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.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17478.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Publication status: published as Cuffe, H.E. & Harbaugh, W.T. & Lindo, J.M. & Musto, G. & Waddell, G.R., 2012. "Evidence on the efficacy of school-based incentives for healthy living," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1028-1036.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17478

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