Public Expenditure and Sport Participation: An Examination of Direct, Spillover, and Substitution Effects

Sören Dallmeyer
Pamela Wicker
and Christoph Breuer

This study performs a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between various types of government spending and individual sport participation. By combining in­dividual data from the German Socio-Economic Panel with expenditure data of the federal states for the period 2003–2011, direct (i.e., sport facilities, pools, general sport promotion), potential spillover (i.e., education, health, streets, public transport, envi­ronment), and substitution effects (i.e., culture) on regular sport participation are ana­lyzed. The results of probit models reveal positive effects for direct sport-related public expenditure on sport facilities and swimming pools in the same year. While spillover effects could be observed for expenditure on streets and transport infrastructure, sub­stitution effects were not identified. The results remain relatively robust when using three-year averages or relative measures of the expenditure variables. One implication for policy makers is that spillover effects from spending not directly targeted at sport can also facilitate regular sport participation.