Is There An Association Between Gasoline Prices & Physical Activity?Evidence from American Time Use Data
Obesity is epidemic in the U.S, and there is an imperative need to identify policy tools that may help fight this epidemic. A recent paper in the economics literature finds an inverse relationship between gasoline prices and obesity-risk --- suggesting that increased gasoline prices via higher gasoline taxes may have the effect of reducing obesity prevalence. This study builds upon that paper. It utilizes cross-sectional time-series data from the American Time Use Survey over 2003-2008, utilizes the increases that occurred in gasoline prices in this period due to Hurricane Katrina and to the global spike in gasoline prices as a ‘natural experiment’, and explores how time spent by Americans on different forms of physical activity is associated with gasoline price levels. Economic theory suggests that higher gasoline prices may alter individual behavior both via a ‘substitution effect’ whereby people seek alternatives to motorized transportation, and an ‘income effect’ whereby the effect of higher gasoline prices on the disposable family budget lead people to make various adjustments to what they spend money on. The latter may lead to some increase in physical activity (for example, doing one’s own yard work instead of hiring help), but may also lead to decreases in other physical activities that involve expenses, such as team sports or work-outs at the gym. Thus, ultimately, the relationship between gasoline prices and physical activity must be empirically determined. Results from multivariate regression models with state and time fixed-effects indicate that higher gasoline prices are associated with an overall increase of physical activity that is at least moderately energy intensive. The increases are most pronounced in periods where gasoline prices fluctuate more sharply. These results appear robust to a number of model specifications. One of the major components of this increase appear to be an increase in housework that is at least moderately energy intensive – such as interior and exterior cleaning, garden and yard work, etc. This tentatively suggests that there is an ‘income effect’ of higher gasoline prices. However, the increases in physical activity associated with increased gasoline prices are weaker among minorities and low socioeconomic status (SES) individuals. Hence, while a policy which increases gasoline prices via raised gasoline taxes may have benefits in terms of increasing overall physical activity levels in the U.S., one concern is that these benefits may not accrue to low SES individuals to the same extent as to their higher SES counterparts.
|Date of creation:||30 Apr 2011|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005.
"Healthy living in hard times,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 2003. "Healthy Living in Hard Times," NBER Working Papers 9468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Healthy Living in Hard Times," IZA Discussion Papers 711, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Cawley, John & Liu, Feng, 2012. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity: A search for mechanisms in time use data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 352-364.
- John Cawley & Feng Liu, 2007. "Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity: A Search for Mechanisms in Time Use Data," NBER Working Papers 13600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David C. Grabowski & Michael A. Morrisey, 2004. "Gasoline prices and motor vehicle fatalities," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 575-593.
- 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.
- David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- repec:mpr:mprres:4986 is not listed on IDEAS
- Ruhm, Christopher J. & Black, William E., 2002. "Does drinking really decrease in bad times?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 659-678, July.
- Christopher J. Ruhm & William E. Black, 2001. "Does Drinking Really Decrease in Bad Times?," NBER Working Papers 8511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," NBER Working Papers 5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Brons, Martijn & Nijkamp, Peter & Pels, Eric & Rietveld, Piet, 2008. "A meta-analysis of the price elasticity of gasoline demand. A SUR approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2105-2122, September.
- Bisakha Sen & Stephen Mennemeyer & Lisa C. Gary, 2011. "The Relationship between Perceptions of Neighborhood Characteristics and Obesity among Children," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 145-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Good times make you sick," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 637-658, July.
- Michael Grossman & Naci H. Mocan, 2011. "Economic Aspects of Obesity," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros09-1, April.
- Duan, Naihua, et al, 1983. "A Comparison of Alternative Models for the Demand for Medical Care," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(2), pages 115-126, April.
- Lin, Biing-Hwan & Frazao, Elizabeth, 1997. "Nutritional Quality of Foods At and Away From Home," Food Review: The Magazine of Food Economics, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, vol. 20(2).
- Daniel S. Hamermesh & Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2005. "Data Watch: The American Time Use Survey," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 221-232, Winter. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:31229. 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: (Joachim Winter)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.