Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 225–250

The Effect of Exercise on Earnings: Evidence from the NLSY


DOI: 10.1007/s12122-011-9129-2

Cite this article as:
Kosteas, V.D. J Labor Res (2012) 33: 225. doi:10.1007/s12122-011-9129-2


This paper investigates whether engaging in regular exercise leads to higher earnings in the labor market. While there has been a recent surge of interest by economists on the issue of obesity, relatively little attention has been given to the economic effects of regular physical activity apart from its impact on body composition. I find that engaging in regular exercise yields a 6 to 10% wage increase. The results also show that while even moderate exercise yields a positive earnings effect, frequent exercise generates an even larger impact. These findings are fairly robust to a variety of estimation techniques, including propensity score matching.


ExerciseEarningsObesityPropensity score matching

JEL Codes


Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cleveland State UniversityClevelandUSA