Does Female Sports Participation Reduce Crime? New Evidence From Title IX

Gokhan Kumpas , University of New Hampshire
Joseph J. Sabia, San Diego State University

Youth sports programs have been advanced to enhance human capital acquisition among at-risk youth, but also to generate positive societal externalities via reduced crime. We exploit a natural experiment generated by the introduction of Title IX to estimate the impact of female sports participation on crime. Using county-level crime data from the 1980-2000 Uniform Crime Reports, instrumental variables (IV) estimates show that a 10-percentage point increase in female sports participation induced by Title IX led to a 2 percent decrease in criminal arrests among 25-to-39-year-old females. These findings are driven by reductions in burglary, larceny, robbery, motor vehicle theft, and aggravated assault. We conclude that Title IX-induced crime reductions generated annual external social benefits of approximately $600 million.

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 Presented in Session 8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, & Inequality