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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
    DOI: 10.1086/674097
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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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    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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