Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the twenty-first century. While small-scale experiments change behaviors among adults in the short run, we know little
about the effectiveness of large-scale policies or the longer-run impacts. To nudge primary school children into a long-term habit of exercising, the German state of Saxony distributed sports club
membership vouchers among all 33,000 third graders in 2009. In 2018, we carried out a register-based survey to evaluate the policy. Even after a decade, awareness of the voucher program was
significantly higher in the treatment group. We also find that youth received and redeemed the vouchers. However, we do not find significant short- or long-term effects on sports club membership,
physical activity, overweightness, or motor skills. Apparently, membership vouchers for children are not a strong enough policy tool to overcome barriers to exercise regularly.
Marcus, Jan, Thomas Siedler, and Nicolas R. Ziebarth.
"The Long-Run Effects of Sports Club Vouchers for Primary School Children."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
State and Local Government: Health; Education; Welfare; Public Pensions
Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
Analysis of Education
Education: Government Policy
Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
Sports Economics: Industry Studies