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Sports, exercise, and labor market outcomes


  • Michael Lechner

    (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and IZA, Germany)


A productive workforce is a key objective of public economic policy. Recent empirical work suggests that increasing individual participation in sports and exercise can be a major force for achieving this goal. The productivity gains and related increase in earnings come on top of the already well-documented public health effects that have so far provided the rationale for the major national and international campaigns to increase individual physical activity. The deciding issue for government policy is whether there are externalities, information asymmetries, or other reasons that lead individuals to decide on activity levels that are too low from a broader social perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Lechner, 2015. "Sports, exercise, and labor market outcomes," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 126-126, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izawol:journl:y:2015:n:126

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, January.
    2. Charlotte Cabane, 2014. "Unemployment Duration and Sport Participation," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 9(3), pages 261-280, August.
    3. Charlotte Cabane & Adrian Hille & Michael Lechner, 2015. "Mozart or Pelé? The Effects of Teenagers' Participation in Music and Sports," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 749, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. repec:taf:applec:v:49:y:2017:i:4:p:335-348 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Michael Lechner & Paul Downward, 2017. "Heterogeneous sports participation and labour market outcomes in England," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(4), pages 335-348, January.
    6. Hyytinen, Ari & Lahtonen, Jukka, 2013. "The effect of physical activity on long-term income," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 129-137.
    7. Lechner, Michael, 2009. "Long-run labour market and health effects of individual sports activities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 839-854, July.
    8. Cornelißen Thomas & Pfeifer Christian, 2008. "Sport und Arbeitseinkommen: Individuelle Ertragsraten von Sportaktivitäten in Deutschland," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 59(3), pages 244-255, December.
    9. Lechner, Michael & Sari, Nazmi, 2015. "Labor market effects of sports and exercise: Evidence from Canadian panel data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 1-15.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brosnan, Stephen, 2017. "The Impact of Sports Participation on Crime in England between 2012 and 2015," MPRA Paper 78596, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Sari, Nazmi & Lechner, Michael, 2015. "Long-run health effects of sports and exercise in Canada," Economics Working Paper Series 1520, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

    More about this item


    human capital; earnings; public health;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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