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To Board or Not to Board: Evidence from Nutrition, Health and Education Outcomes of Students in Rural China


  • Aiqin Wang
  • Alexis Medina
  • Renfu Luo
  • Yaojiang Shi
  • Ai Yue


The debate over whether boarding school is beneficial for students still exists in both developing and developed countries. In rural China, as a result of a national school merger program that began in 2001, the number of boarding students has increased dramatically. Little research has been done, however, to measure how boarding status may be correlated with nutrition, health and educational outcomes. In this paper, we compare the outcomes of boarding to those of non-boarding students using a large, aggregate dataset that includes 59 rural counties across five provinces in China. We find that for all outcomes boarding students perform worse than non-boarding students. Despite these differences, the absolute levels of all outcomes are low for both boarding and non-boarding students, indicating a need for new policies that will target all rural students regardless of their boarding status.

Suggested Citation

  • Aiqin Wang & Alexis Medina & Renfu Luo & Yaojiang Shi & Ai Yue, 2016. "To Board or Not to Board: Evidence from Nutrition, Health and Education Outcomes of Students in Rural China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 24(3), pages 52-66, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:chinae:v:24:y:2016:i:3:p:52-66

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fang Lai & Linxiu Zhang & Xiao Hu & Qinghe Qu & Yaojiang Shi & Yajie Qiao & Matthew Boswell & Scott Rozelle, 2013. "Computer assisted learning as extracurricular tutor? Evidence from a randomised experiment in rural boarding schools in Shaanxi," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 208-231, June.
    2. Xiaobing Wang & Chengfang Liu & Linxiu Zhang & Renfu Luo & Thomas Glauben & Yaojiang Shi & Scott Rozelle & Brian Sharbono, 2011. "What is keeping the poor out of college?: Enrollment rates, educational barriers and college matriculation in China," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(2), pages 131-149, May.
    3. Ai Yue & Yaojiang Shi & Fang Chang & Chu Yang & Huan Wang & Hongmei YI & Renfu Luo & Chengfang Liu & Linxiu Zhang & James Yanjey Chu & Scott Rozelle, 2014. "Dormitory management and boarding students in China's rural primary schools," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(3), pages 523-550, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Qihui Chen & Chunchen Pei & Qiran Zhao, 2018. "Eating More but Not Better at School? Impacts of Boarding on Students’ Dietary Structure and Nutritional Status in Rural Northwestern China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(8), pages 1-18, August.

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