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The Economics of Participation and Time Spent in Physical Activity

This paper examines the economics of participation in physical activity by developing a consumer choice model of participation and estimating it using data drawn from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). Both emphasize that individuals face two distinct decisions: (1) should I participate; and (2) how much time should I spend participating? The results indicate that economic factors like income and opportunity cost of time are important determinants of physical activity and that physical activity is a normal good. Individual characteristics also play an important role in determining the amount of time spent in physical activity. Participation and time spent decline with age. Females, married people, households with children, blacks and hispanics all spend less time engaged in physical activity than males, single people, childless households and whites. Public policy interventions aimed at improving physical activity of Americans targeted to specific sub-populations are likely to be more effective than broad-based policies.

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Paper provided by University of Alberta, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2009-9.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2009_009
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  1. John M. Barron & Bradley T. Ewing & Glen R. Waddell, 2000. "The Effects Of High School Athletic Participation On Education And Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 409-421, August.
  2. John Cawley & Chad Meyerhoefer & David Newhouse, 2007. "The Correlation Of Youth Physical Activity With State Policies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(4), pages 506-517, October.
  3. Lisa Farrell & Michael A. Shields, 2002. "Investigating the economic and demographic determinants of sporting participation in England," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(2), pages 335-348.
  4. Andrew M. Jones, 2012. "health econometrics," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Palgrave Macmillan.
  5. John Cawley & Chad D. Meyerhoefer & David Newhouse, 2005. "The Impact of State Physical Education Requirements on Youth Physical Activity and Overweight," NBER Working Papers 11411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Eide, Eric R. & Ronan, Nick, 2001. "Is participation in high school athletics an investment or a consumption good?: Evidence from high school and beyond," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 431-442, October.
  7. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1984. "Tobit models: A survey," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 3-61.
  8. K. E. McConnell, 1992. "On-Site Time in the Demand for Recreation," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 74(4), pages 918-925.
  9. Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jones, Andrew M, 1992. "A Note on Computation of the Double-Hurdle Model with Dependence with an Application to Tobacco Expenditure," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 67-74, January.
  11. Brad R. Humphreys & Jane E. Ruseski, 2007. "Participation In Physical Activity And Government Spending On Parks And Recreation," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(4), pages 538-552, October.
  12. Long, James E & Caudill, Steven B, 1991. "The Impact of Participation in Intercollegiate Athletics on Income and Graduation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 525-31, August.
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