Panel Paper: Causes and Consequences of Racial Disparities In Swimming

Friday, November 9, 2012 : 10:05 AM
Adams (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Samuel L. Myers and Ana Cuesta, University of Minnesota

This paper provides a background review of what is known and what is not known from the public health, sports economics, and related literatures about the causes and consequences of racial disparities in swimming.  It provides the first known estimation of the determinants of competitive swimming rates using data from a) a novel pooled cross-section, time series data set comprised of the USA Swimming, Association club competitive swimming participation rates, CDC drowning rates and state demographic information; and b) NELS88, with measures of high school swimming team participation. swim team.  Finally, the paper provides evidence of the consequences of racial disparities in swimming rates by demonstrating the impacts on drowning rates, adult earnings, college attendance, and teenage childbearing.  We demonstrate a strong, inverse relationship between black drowning rates and black participation in competitive swimming using the USA Swimming/CDC Drowning data; we find non-trivial and statistically significant effects of competitive swimming on adult earnings, college attendance and deferral of childbearing, even once one adjusts for selection and accounts for potential unobserved heterogeneity.