PSC Working Paper Series

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Stevenson, Betsey. 2010. "Beyond the Classroom: Using Title IX to Measure the Return to High School Sports." PSC Working Paper Series, PSC 10-03.


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.


1964 Civil Rights Act, 1990 Census of Population, 5% Public Use Micro Sample (PUMS), Analysis of education, Athletic participation, Athletics, College attendance, College attendance, Demographic Economics, Economics of Gender, Education, Educational attainment, Educational policy, Entitlements, Extra curricular activities, Family and Personal Law, Female athletic participation, Female labor force participation, Gender discrimination, Gender segregation, High school participation, High-skill occupations, Human capital, Labor force participation, Labor law, Labor market demographics, Labor productivity, Male-dominated occupations, National Center for Education Statistics, National Federation of State High School Associations, National High School Athletic Participation Survey, Non-labor discrimination, Occupation, Occupational choice, Professional labor markets, Professionals, Public policy, Schooling, Skills, Time allocation, Title IX Law (Education Amendments)



Date Posted: 02 February 2010