NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by David E. Frisvold

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Working Papers

August 2015The Impact of Social Security Income on Cognitive Function at Older Ages
with Padmaja Ayyagari: w21484
Prior literature has documented a positive association between income and cognitive function at older ages, however, the extent to which this association represents causal effects is unknown. In this study, we use an exogenous change in Social Security income due to amendments to the Social Security Act in the 1970s to identify the causal impact of Social Security income on cognitive function of elderly individuals. We find that higher benefits led to significant improvements in cognitive function and that these improvements in cognition were clinically meaningful. Our results suggest that interventions even at advanced ages can slow the rate of decline in cognitive function.
The Incidence of Taxes on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: The Case of Berkeley, California
with John Cawley: w21465
Obesity and diet-related chronic disease are increasing problems worldwide. In response, many governments have enacted or are considering taxes on energy-dense foods. Perhaps the most commonly-recommended policy is a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). This paper estimates the extent to which a tax on SSBs is passed through to consumers in the form of higher prices. We examine the first city-level tax on SSBs in the U.S., which was enacted by the voters of Berkeley, California in November, 2014. We collected the prices of various brands and sizes of SSBs and other beverages before and after the implementation of the tax from a near-census of convenience stores and supermarkets in Berkeley, California. We also collected prices from stores in a control city: San Francisco, where...
August 2012The Impact of Physical Education on Obesity among Elementary School Children
with John Cawley, Chad Meyerhoefer: w18341
In response to the dramatic rise in childhood obesity, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other organizations have advocated increasing the time that elementary school children spend in physical education (PE) classes. However, little is known about the effect of PE on child weight. This paper measures that effect by instrumenting for child PE time with state policies, using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) for 1998-2004. Results from IV models indicate that PE lowers BMI z-score and reduces the probability of obesity among 5th graders (in particular, boys), while the instrument is insufficiently powerful to reliably estimate effects for younger children. This represents some of the first evidence of a causal effect of PE on youth obesit...

Published: Cawley, John, David Frisvold, and Chad Meyerhoefer. "The Impact of Physical Education on Obesity among Elementary School Children." Journal of Health Economics, 2013, 32(4): 743-755. citation courtesy of

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