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The impact of the National School Lunch Program on child health: A nonparametric bounds analysis

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  • Gundersen, Craig
  • Kreider, Brent
  • Pepper, John

Abstract

Children in households reporting the receipt of free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are more likely to have negative health outcomes than observationally similar nonparticipants. Assessing causal effects of the program is made difficult, however, by missing counterfactuals and systematic underreporting of program participation. Combining survey data with auxiliary administrative information on the size of the NSLP caseload, we extend nonparametric partial identification methods that account for endogenous selection and nonrandom classification error in a single framework. Similar to a regression discontinuity design, we introduce a new way to conceptualize the monotone instrumental variable (MIV) assumption using eligibility criteria as monotone instruments. Under relatively weak assumptions, we find evidence that the receipt of free and reduced-price lunches improves the health outcomes of children.

Suggested Citation

  • Gundersen, Craig & Kreider, Brent & Pepper, John, 2012. "The impact of the National School Lunch Program on child health: A nonparametric bounds analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(1), pages 79-91.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:166:y:2012:i:1:p:79-91
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeconom.2011.06.007
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    1. John V. Pepper, 2000. "The Intergenerational Transmission Of Welfare Receipt: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 472-488, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Partial identification; Selection problem; Classification error; Monotone instrumental variable; Regression discontinuity; National School Lunch Program; Food insecurity; Obesity;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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