Starting in 2009, the German state of Saxony distributed sports club membership vouchers among all 33,000 third graders in the state. The policy’s objective was to encourage them to develop a long-term habit of exercising. In 2018, we carried out a large register-based survey among several cohorts in Saxony and two neighboring states. Our difference-in-differences estimations show that, even after a decade, awareness of the voucher program was signiﬁcantly higher in the treatment group. We also ﬁnd that youth received and redeemed the vouchers. However, we do not ﬁnd signiﬁcant short- or long-term effects on sports club membership, physical activity, overweightness, or motor skills.
Keywords: physical activity, voucher, primary school, obesity, habit formation, objective health measures, school health examinations, windfall gains, crowd-out, taxpayer subsidies