Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 24, 2009

Too Cold for a Jog? Weather, Exercise, and Socioeconomic Status

Daniel Eisenberg and Edward Okeke


This study examines how exercise responds to plausibly exogenous "price shocks," in the form of weather conditions. Most notably, we find that within cold temperature ranges, a decrease in past-month temperature causes a significant decrease in past-month exercise, and this effect is generally larger for lower education and income groups. In large part this differential by socioeconomic group appears to be due to smaller increases in indoor activity during cold weather. These results suggest that interventions and policies aiming to increase exercise participation, particularly among lower socioeconomic populations, could do so in part by increasing the availability and attractiveness of indoor facilities and activities. Furthermore, to the extent that the higher elasticity of behavior for lower socioeconomic groups reflects a more general sensitivity to external factors, these results highlight the promise of interventions that address such factors more broadly.

Published Online: 2009-6-24

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