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Too Busy for School? The Effect of Athletic Participation on Absenteeism

Author

Listed:
  • Cuffe, Harold E.

    () (Victoria University of Wellington)

  • Waddell, Glen R.

    () (University of Oregon)

  • Bignell, Wesley

    () (University of Washington)

Abstract

While existing research supports that participation in high-school athletics is associated with better education and labour-market outcomes, the mechanisms through which these benefits accrue are not well established. We use data from a large public-school district to retrieve an estimate of the causal effect of high-school athletic participation on absenteeism. We show that active competition decreases absences, with most of the effect driven by reductions in unexcused absences – truancy among active male athletes declines significantly, with the effects larger in earlier grades and for black and Hispanic boys. Strong game-day effects are also evident, in both boys and girls, as truancy declines on game days are offset with higher rates of absenteeism the following day. Addressing the effects on academic performance, we find significant heterogeneity in the response to active athletic participation by race, gender and family structure, with boys not in dual-parent households exhibiting small academic improvements in semesters in which they experienced greater athletic participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Cuffe, Harold E. & Waddell, Glen R. & Bignell, Wesley, 2014. "Too Busy for School? The Effect of Athletic Participation on Absenteeism," IZA Discussion Papers 8426, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8426
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Meroni, Elena Claudia & Piazzalunga, Daniela & Pronzato, Chiara, 2018. "Use of extra-school time and child behaviours. Evidence from the UK," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201811, University of Turin.
    2. Aucejo, Esteban M. & Romano, Teresa Foy, 2016. "Assessing the effect of school days and absences on test score performance," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68655, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Elena Claudia Meroni & Daniela Piazzalunga & Chiara Pronzato, 2019. "Use of extra-school time and child behaviour," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2019-02, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.
    4. Aucejo, Esteban M. & Romano, Teresa Foy, 2016. "Assessing the effect of school days and absences on test score performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 70-87.
    5. Labriola, Silvia & Pronzato, Chiara, 2018. "The determinants of children's use of extra-school time in Europe," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201809, University of Turin.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; truancy; attendance; athletes; sport;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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