Economics professors research the effect of physical education on children’s bodyweight

The journal Health Economics recently published research co-authored by Associate Professors Katy Rouse and Steven Bednar.

Katy Rouse and Steven Bednar, both associate professors of economics in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, co-authored an article titled “The effect of physical education on children’s body weight and human capital: New evidence from the ECLS-K:2011,” which appears in Volume 29, Issue 4 of Health Economics.

Headshots of Bednar and Rouse
Associate Professors of Economics Steven Bednar and Katy Rouse

An abstract of the article is provided below:

“This study provides evidence on the impact of physical education on child body weight, cognitive, and noncognitive achievement using data from the Early Child Longitudinal Survey Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011 (ECLS-K:2011). Students in the 2011 cohort were exposed to increased accountability pressures by No Child Left Behind, yet average weekly physical education time has not decreased from that reported in studies using the original ECLS-K class of 1998-1999. We instrument for teacher-reported weekly PE time using state physical education laws and exploit the panel design of the data to estimate individual fixed effects models to address concerns of endogeneity. We find time spent in physical education has essentially no effect on child body weight or human capital outcomes of U.S. elementary school children.”

Health Economics publishes articles on health policy from the economic perspective. It covers aspects such as the determinants of health; the supply and demand for health care; various market mechanisms; evaluation of individual procedures and treatments; and evaluation of the overall performance of health-care systems with a focus on equity and allocative efficiency.

Bednar received a doctorate in economics from Yale University and undergraduate degrees in economics and applied mathematics from UC Berkeley. His research focuses on applied microeconomics and political economy.

Rouse earned her doctorate in economics from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree in economics from Miami University. Her research in the area of education economics also includes several studies on the effects of year-round school calendars.