Sunday, November 13, 2011

Evaluating exercise

My good friend Herr Prof. Dr. Michael Lechner has begun a research agenda on the economics of sports. You can find a summary of his paper evaluating the "treatment" of youthful exercise here. The paper is co-authored with Christina Felfe and Andreas Steinmayr.

I have always liked Michael's work in part because he is always very careful to justify, in terms of the economics and institutions of the particular context, the identification strategies he uses. This paper is no exception.

I am also interested and pleased to see Michael moving into the labor economics side of the economics of sports. I think his presence will create a lot of positive spillovers in terms of the applied econometrics of the field, thereby raising the average quality of the research it produces.

I think this is also a natural move in the sense that the literature on the evaluation of employment and training programs, in which both Michael and I have been quite active, has reached a fairly mature point, so that most contributions are reasonably marginal.

This move also comports with Michael's personal interest in fitness, an interest he shares with his assistant professors and graduate students. If you visit St. Gallen, they will tell you entertaining stories, when Michael is not nearby, about group retreats held on top of hills that must be climbed on foot and so on. When I last visited, I got to play soccer with Michael and his boys,which was great fun, though expect it was great fun in part because he had coached them to go easy on me.

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