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The effects of the National School Lunch Program on education and health

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  • Peter Hinrichs

    (Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University, Washington DC)

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    Abstract

    This paper estimates the effects of participating in the National School Lunch Program in the middle of the 20th century on adult health outcomes and educational attainment. I utilize an instrumental variables strategy that exploits a change in the formula used by the federal government to allocate funding to the states. Identification is achieved by the fact that different birth cohorts were exposed to different degrees to the original formula and the new formula, along with the fact that the change of the formula affected states differentially by per capita income. Participation in the program as a child appears to have few long-run effects on health, but the effects on educational attainment are sizable. These results may suggest that subsidized lunches induced children to attend school but displaced food consumption from other sources. Alternatively, the program may have had short-run health effects that dissipated over time but that facilitated higher educational attainment. © 2010 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20506
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 479-505

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:29:y:2010:i:3:p:479-505

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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    1. Heckman, James J., 2000. "Policies to foster human capital," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 3-56, March.
    2. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
    3. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," Working Papers 653, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
    5. Jayanta Bhattacharya & Janet Currie & Steven Haider, 2004. "Breakfast of Champions? The School Breakfast Program and the Nutrition of Children and Families," NBER Working Papers 10608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2009. "Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    7. Ludwig, Jens & Miller, Douglas L., 2006. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," IZA Discussion Papers 2111, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
    9. Philip M. Gleason & Carol W. Suitor, 2003. "Eating at School: How the National School Lunch Program Affects Children's Diets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(4), pages 1047-1061.
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    Cited by:
    1. Ames, Allison J. & Ames, Glenn C.W. & Houston, Jack E. & Angioloni, Simone, 2013. "Food Insecurity and Educational Achievement: A Multilevel Generalization of Poisson Regression," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150167, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Roy, Manan & Millimet, Daniel L. & Tchernis, Rusty, 2010. "Federal Nutrition Programs and Childhood Obesity: Inside the Black Box," IZA Discussion Papers 5316, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. McEwan, Patrick J., 2013. "The impact of Chile's school feeding program on education outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 122-139.
    4. Houston, Jack E. & Marzette, Audrianna A. & Ames, Glenn C.W. & Ames, Allison Jennifer, 2013. "Food Insecurity, the National School Lunch Program and Educational Achievement: Evidence from Georgia's Public Schools," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 44(1), March.
    5. Leos-Urbel, Jacob & Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Weinstein, Meryle & Corcoran, Sean, 2013. "Not just for poor kids: The impact of universal free school breakfast on meal participation and student outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 88-107.

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