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School Meals as a Safety Net: An Evaluation of the Midday Meal Scheme in India

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  • Abhijeet Singh
  • Albert Park
  • Stefan Dercon

Abstract

Despite the popularity of school meals, little evidence exists on their effect on health outcomes. This study uses newly available longitudinal data from the state of Andhra Pradesh in India to estimate the impact of the introduction of a national midday meal program on anthropometric z-scores of primary school students and investigates whether the program ameliorated the deterioration of health in young children caused by a severe drought. Correcting for self-selection into the program using a nonlinearity in how age affects the probability of enrollment, we find that the program acted as a safety net for children, providing large and significant health gains for children whose families suffered from drought.

Suggested Citation

  • Abhijeet Singh & Albert Park & Stefan Dercon, 2014. "School Meals as a Safety Net: An Evaluation of the Midday Meal Scheme in India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(2), pages 275-306.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/674097
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hanan G. Jacoby, 2002. "Is There an Intrahousehold "Flypaper Effect"? Evidence From a School Feeding Programme," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 196-221, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gentilini,Ugo, 2016. "The revival of the"cash versus food"debate : new evidence for an old quandary ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7584, The World Bank.
    2. Tandon, Sharad & Landes, Maurice & Christensen, Cheryl & LeGrand, Steven & Broussard, Nzinga & Farrin, Katie & Thome, Karen, 2017. "Progress and Challenges in Global Food Security," Economic Information Bulletin 262131, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    3. Farzana Afridi & Bidisha Barooah & Rohini Somanathan, 2016. "Student responses to the changing content of school meals in India," Working papers 264, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    4. Alderman, Harold, 2014. "Can transfer programs be made more nutrition sensitive?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1342, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. repec:spr:demogr:v:55:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-018-0669-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Manisha Shah & Bryce Millett Steinberg, 2017. "Drought of Opportunities: Contemporaneous and Long-Term Impacts of Rainfall Shocks on Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(2), pages 527-561.
    7. Sudha Narayanan & Nicolas Gerber, 2015. "Social safety nets for food and nutritional security in India," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2015-031, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    8. Jessica Leight & Paul Glewwe & Albert Park, 2015. "The Impact of Early Childhood Rainfall Shocks on the Evolution of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills," Department of Economics Working Papers 2016-14, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Oct 2016.
    9. Gentilini, Ugo, 2014. "Our daily bread : what is the evidence on comparing cash versus food transfers?," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 89502, The World Bank.
    10. Chakraborty, Tanika & Jayaraman, Rajshri, 2016. "School Feeding and Learning Achievement: Evidence from India's Midday Meal Program," IZA Discussion Papers 10086, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Alderman, Harold & Walker, Susan P., 2014. "Improving resilience to nutritional shocks:," IFPRI book chapters,in: Fan, Shenggen & Pandya-Lorch, Rajul & Yosef, Sivan (ed.), 2013 Global Food Policy Report, chapter 12 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. repec:eee:injoed:v:62:y:2018:i:c:p:245-253 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Jean-Pierre Tranchant & Patricia Justino & Cathérine Müller, 2014. "Political Violence, Drought and Child Malnutrition: Empirical Evidence from Andhra Pradesh, India," HiCN Working Papers 173, Households in Conflict Network.
    14. Sudha Narayanan Narayanan & Nicolas Gerber, 2016. "Safety Nets for Food and Nutritional Security in India," FOODSECURE Working papers 37, LEI Wageningen UR.
    15. repec:eaa:aeinde:v:18:y:2018:i:1_10 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Shiladitya Chatterjee & Amitava Mukherjee & Raghbendra Jha, 2010. "Approaches to Combat Hunger in Asia and the Pacific," MPDD Working Paper Series WP/10/10, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
    17. Tanika Chakraborty & Rajshri Jayaraman, 2016. "School Feeding and Learning Achievement: Evidence from India's Midday Meal Program," CESifo Working Paper Series 5994, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. Porter, Catherine & Goyal, Radhika, 2016. "Social protection for all ages? Impacts of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program on child nutrition," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 92-99.
    19. Eli Berman & Mitch Downey & Joseph Felter, 2016. "Expanding Governance as Development: Evidence on Child Nutrition in the Philippines," NBER Working Papers 21849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Rohini Somanathan & Bidisha Barooah & Farzana Afridi, 2016. "The Mixture as Before? Student Responses to the Changing Content of School Meals in India," Working Papers id:10874, eSocialSciences.
    21. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:8:p:2753-:d:161900 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Abhijeet Singh, 2014. "Emergence and evolution of learning gaps across countries: Linked panel evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-28, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    23. repec:eee:wdevel:v:111:y:2018:i:c:p:211-224 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:555-572 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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