Discussion paper

DP8523 Sports and Child Development

Despite the relevance of cognitive and non-cognitive skills for professional success, their formation is not yet fully understood. This study fills part of this gap by analyzing the role of sports club participation, one of the most popular extra-curricular activities, on children?s skill development. Our results indicate positive effects: school performance improves by 0.20 standard deviations and overall non-cognitive skills by 0.09 standard deviations. The results are robust when using alternative datasets as well as alternative estimation and identification strategies. The effects can be partially explained by increased physical activities replacing passive leisure activities.


Lechner, M, C Felfe and A Steinmayr (2011), ‘DP8523 Sports and Child Development‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 8523. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp8523