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Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) Working Paper Series

No 1180:
Exercise Improves Academic Performance

Alexander W Cappelen, Gary Charness, Mathias Ekström (), Uri Gneezy and Bertil Tungodden

Abstract: We report the results of a randomized controlled trial testing whether incentivizing physical exercise improves the academic performance of college students. As expected, the intervention increases physical activity. The main result is that it generates a strong and significant improvement in academic performance, particularly for students who struggled at the baseline in terms of lifestyle habits. We also provide evidence on the underlying mechanisms: Students who were incentivized to exercise have a healthier life style and improved self-control. Overall, the study demonstrates that incentivizing students to exercise can be an important tool in improving educational achievements.

Keywords: C93; I12; I18; I21; Z20; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C93; I12; I18; I21; Z20; (follow links to similar papers)

49 pages, September 8, 2017

Economics of education; Human capital formation; Behavior change; Field experiment

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