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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)

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. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
  2. James J. Heckman, 1999. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 7288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2009. "Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
  6. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," Working Papers, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. 653, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
  8. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, 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, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(4), pages 1047-1061.
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Cited by:
  1. McEwan, Patrick J., 2013. "The impact of Chile's school feeding program on education outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 122-139.
  2. David Frisvold, 2013. "Nutrition and Cognitive Achievement: An Evaluation of the School Breakfast Program," Emory Economics, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta) 1301, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  3. 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, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 44(1), March.
  4. 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, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 88-107.
  5. 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., Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 150167, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  6. Dara N. Lee, 2012. "The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Educational Attainment: Evidence from Modern Mandatory School Vaccination Laws," Working Papers, Department of Economics, University of Missouri 1202, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 29 Oct 2012.
  7. Smith, Travis A., 2013. ""Billions and Billions Served" Heterogeneous Effects of Food Source on Child Dietary Quality," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C., Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 151212, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  8. Howard, Larry L. & Prakash, Nishith, 2009. "Do Means-Tested School Lunch Subsidies Change Children's Weekly Consumption Patterns?," IZA Discussion Papers 4427, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Manan Roy & Daniel Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2012. "Federal nutrition programs and childhood obesity: inside the black box," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 1-38, March.

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