Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Stephen Schmidt




sports, income, school, team, high


My thesis uses data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS-88) to examine the relationship between participation in high school athletics and income. NELS-88 follows students from 8th grade through age 25 and asks them questions about family, school, and personal preferences. I use this information to determine if participation in high school sports affects a person’s wage when he or she enters the labor force. Students gain valuable skills from playing on a sports team that help them achieve great things later in life, such as higher paying jobs. However, students who join sports teams may already have the skills that they are potentially gaining by playing on an athletic team. Therefore, I need to use instrumental variables such as family income and school size to correct for endogeneity. I use both ordinary least squares and two-stage least squares as estimation techniques in this paper. I run each regression both controlling for fulltime employment and with the unrestricted sample. I separate participating in a varsity high school sports team into two different variables: individual sports and team sports. Additionally, I look at how a person’s gender, race, post-secondary degree type, industry, and state also affect an individual’s income. I find that participating in either an individual sport or a team sport positively affects income. However, when controlling for endogeneity, only individual sports positively affect income.