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The Long-Run Effects of Sports Club Vouchers for Primary School Children

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  • Jan Marcus
  • Thomas Siedler
  • Nicolas R. Ziebarth

Abstract

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the twenty-first century. While small-scale experiments change behaviors among adults in the short run, we know little about the effectiveness of large-scale policies or the longer-run impacts. To nudge primary school children into a long-term habit of exercising, the German state of Saxony distributed sports club membership vouchers among all 33,000 third graders in 2009. In 2018, we carried out a register-based survey to evaluate the policy. Even after a decade, awareness of the voucher program was significantly higher in the treatment group. We also find that youth received and redeemed the vouchers. However, we do not find significant short- or long-term effects on sports club membership, physical activity, overweightness, or motor skills. Apparently, membership vouchers for children are not a strong enough policy tool to overcome barriers to exercise regularly.

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  • Jan Marcus & Thomas Siedler & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2022. "The Long-Run Effects of Sports Club Vouchers for Primary School Children," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 128-165, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:14:y:2022:i:3:p:128-65
    DOI: 10.1257/pol.20200431
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    1. Bacon, Felix & Bello, Abdel-Hamid & Brown, Myriam & Morris, Todd & Renée, Laëtitia, 2023. "Successful Replication of "The Long-Run Effects of Sports Club Vouchers for Primary School Children (2022)"," I4R Discussion Paper Series 46, The Institute for Replication (I4R).
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    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • Z21 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - Industry Studies

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