Participation in school sport and post-school pathways: evidence from Ireland

| Publication date: 6 May 2015 | External Author(s): Lunn, P D; Kelly, E | JEL Classification: I21; J01; J24; J40; L83 | Journal: National Insitute Economic Review No 232 Issue May 2015 | Publisher: Sage Publications, London

We examine the impact of participation in sport at secondary school on post-school pathways using a survey of Irish school-leavers, distinguishing between those who dropped out of sport during their secondary school years and those who continued playing in their final school years. We find that members of this latter group are, on completion of secondary schooling, significantly and substantially more likely to continue their education rather than to join the labour market. This effect survives controlling for individual background traits, school characteristics, attachment to the school and academic achievement. Our results are also robust to the use of propensity score matching to control for selection into participation in sport based on observable characteristics. We relate our findings to previous work on the potential labour market benefits of participation in sport and to the emerging literature on the role of consumption value in educational choice.

Keyword tags: 
sports participation, labour market, educational choice