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Cycling: An Increasingly Untouched Source of Physical and Mental Health

  • Inas Rashad

Cost savings associated with increased gasoline prices and lower levels of urban sprawl have been cited in terms of personal savings, environmental awareness, reduced costs through lower travel times and congestion, and reduced income inequality. Cost savings in terms of improved health, however, are often not cited yet represent another dimension of savings associated with reduced urban sprawl and gas prices. Cycling is a form of exercise that can also be used as a mode of transportation if the surrounding environment facilitates such use. According to the United States Department of Transportation, 73 percent of adults want new bicycle facilities such as bike lanes, trails, and traffic signals. Using data from the 1990, 1995, and 2001 waves of the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, in addition to data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (1996-2000), I propose to analyze the effects of variations in the built environment in the form of urban sprawl and in real gasoline prices on cycling as a form of physical activity. Using bivariate probit and propensity score methods, I show how cycling can lead to improved physical health outcomes. This is turn may carry policy implications in terms of improved public awareness and city planning.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12929.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12929.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12929
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  1. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman & Shin-Yi Chou, 2006. "The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 133-148, Winter.
  3. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  4. John Cawley & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2006. "Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research," NBER Working Papers 12291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
  7. Parry, Ian & Small, Kenneth, 2002. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," Discussion Papers dp-02-12-, Resources For the Future.
  8. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
  9. Rashad, Inas & Kaestner, Robert, 2004. "Teenage sex, drugs and alcohol use: problems identifying the cause of risky behaviors," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 493-503, May.
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