Ekström presents at ESA World Meeting

6 July 2017 18:12

Ekström presents at ESA World Meeting

Earlier this summer, The Choice Lab researcher Mathias Ekström presented the paper “Exercise Improves Academic Performance” at the ESA World Meeting in San Diego, June 20 – 23.

The study is joint work by Alexander W. Cappelen, Gary Charness, Mathias Ekström, Uri Gneezy and Bertil Tungodden.

We report the results of a randomized controlled trial that examines whether incentivizing physical exercise has a positive impact on academic performance in college. The analysis combines administrative grade data from the university, exercise data from the student gym, and self-reported baseline and follow-up data as specified in a pre-analysis plan. As expected from previous work, providing students with incentives increases gym attendance. The main result of our paper is that incentivizing exercising also generates a strong and significant improvement in academic performance. The intervention has the largest effect on students who self-reported that they struggled at baseline. We also provide evidence on the underlying mechanisms: Students who were incentivized to exercise more also reported having a healthier life style and improved self-control. Overall, the study demonstrates that incentivizing exercise among students can be an important tool in improving educational achievements.

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