Beyond the Classroom: Using Title IX to Measure the Return to High School Sports
Between 1972 and 1978 U.S. high schools rapidly increased their female athletic participation rates--to approximately the same level as their male athletic participation rates--in order to comply with Title IX, a policy change that provides a unique quasi-experiment in female athletic participation. This paper examines the causal implications of this expansion in female sports participation by using variation in the level of boys' athletic participation across states before Title IX to instrument for the change in girls' athletic participation. Analysis of differences in outcomes across states in changes between pre- and post-cohorts reveals that a 10-percentage point rise in state-level female sports participation generates a 1 percentage point increase in female college attendance and a 1 to 2 percentage point rise in female labor force participation. Furthermore, greater opportunities to play sports leads to greater female participation in previously male-dominated occupations, particularly in high-skill occupations.
This project has drawn on the advice of many generous friends and colleagues, including Richard Freeman, Claudia Goldin, Caroline Minter Hoxby, Lawrence Katz, Brigitte Madrian, Justin Wolfers, as well as participants in the ASSA CeMENT Workshop. I am grateful for the comments and insights provided by seminar participants at Chicago Law School, Northwestern Law School, Harvard University, University of Michigan, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, The Harris School, The College of William and Mary, The Wharton School, Emory University, Rutgers, The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Brigham Young University, University of Maryland BC, Vanderbilt Law School, University of Virginia Law School and the London School of Economics. In addition, I received valuable feedback from participants at the NBER Summer Institute, the NBER Law and Economics spring meeting, the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, CEPR's Economics of Education and Education Policy conference, the Australian Conference of Economists, and at meetings organized by the Econometric Society, Eastern Economic Association, the American Law and Economics Association, and the Society of Labor Economics. Eric Klotch, Rachel Schwartz, Rohak Doshi, and Sonali Muraka all provided excellent research assistance. Special thanks go to Bruce Howard and John Gillis at the National Federation of State High School Associations for their assistance in tracking down data. Generous funding from the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center and the Wharton Sports Business Initiative is gratefully acknowledged. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Betsey Stevenson, 2010. "Beyond the Classroom: Using Title IX to Measure the Return to High School Sports," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 284-301, 08. citation courtesy of