The behavioural economics of parkrun

A little late in sharing this, but to add to the recent discussion about parkrun and Stoke Gifford Council, here is a great piece about the behavioural economics of parkrun from Prof Theodore Turocy (School of Economics at University of East Anglia).

There are many interesting angles on the matter in the article and comments, which provide much food for thought in thinking through how run-commuting may act as a similar ‘nudge’ as parkrun to increase physical activity levels and the barriers that face its continued growth.

UEA ECO Blog

By Prof Theodore Turocy 

Last week, Stoke Gifford Parish Council voted to institute a £1 per runner charge on the parkrun (http://www.parkrun.org.uk) event held at Little Stoke Park in Bristol, citing, among other factors, the maintenance costs imposed on the park by the 200 or more participants who run, jog, or walk 5km as part of the event each week. This item has been newsworthy, among other reasons, as national policy has an objective of encouraging health and fitness.  Some of these national initiatives are based on standard economic principles of subsidising to encourage certain types of activity, and taxing to discourage others.  For example, hosting the 2012 London Olympics was justified in part in the hope it would create a legacy of increased participation in sport, while the recent tax on drinks with a high sugar content is intended to help reduce excessive consumption of sugar, which…

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