IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Inas Rashad, 2007. "Cycling: An Increasingly Untouched Source of Physical and Mental Health," NBER Working Papers 12929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12929
    Note: HE

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
    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 223-255, March-Apr.
    4. 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.
    5. Ian W. H. Parry & Kenneth A. Small, 2005. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1276-1289, September.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
    9. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Michael Lechner, 2008. "Long-Run Labour Market Effects of Individual Sports Activities," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 114, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. 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.
    3. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "Work out or out of work -- The labor market return to physical fitness and leisure sports activities," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 399-409, June.
    4. Steinmayr, Andreas & Felfe, Christina & Lechner, Michael, 2011. "The closer the sportier? Children's sport activity and their distance to sport facilities," Economics Working Paper Series 1104, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    5. Chung-Ping Loh, 2009. "Physical inactivity and working hour inflexibility: evidence from a U.S. sample of older men," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 257-281, September.
    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. Joan Costa-Font & Daniele Fabbri & Joan Gil, 2008. "Decomposing Cross-Country Gaps in Obesity and Overweight: Does the Social Environment Matter?," Working Papers in Economics 205, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    8. Michael Lechner, 2011. "Leisure Sports Participation in Switzerland," Chapters,in: The Economics of Sport, Health and Happiness, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12929. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.