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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Hinrichs, 2010. "The effects of the National School Lunch Program on education and health," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 479-505.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:29:y:2010:i:3:p:479-505
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.20506
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bütikofer, Aline & Mølland, Eirin & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2016. "Childhood Nutrition and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from a School Breakfast Program," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 15/2016, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    2. Manan Roy & Daniel Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2012. "Federal nutrition programs and childhood obesity: inside the black box," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 1-38, March.
    3. Ames, Allison Jennifer & 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. 150167, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Frisvold, David E., 2015. "Nutrition and cognitive achievement: An evaluation of the School Breakfast Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 91-104.
    5. Cabrera Hernández, Francisco-Javier, 2016. "Essays on the impact evaluation of education policies in Mexico," Economics PhD Theses 0316, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    6. Michael L. Anderson & Justin Gallagher & Elizabeth Ramirez Ritchie, 2017. "School Lunch Quality and Academic Performance," NBER Working Papers 23218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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).
    8. 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, vol. 44(1), March.
    9. 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. 151212, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Ames, Allison Jennifer & Ames, Glenn Clifford Webster & Houston, Jack Erwin & Angioloni, Simone, 0. "Food Insecurity And Educational Achievement: A Multi-Level Generalization Of Poisson Regression," International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics (IJFAEC), Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University, Department of Economics and Finance, vol. 4.
    11. Angioloni, Simone & Ames, Glenn C.W. & Houston, Jack, 2014. "Food Insecurity and Educational Achievement," 2014 Annual Meeting, February 1-4, 2014, Dallas, Texas 162478, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    12. Dara N. Lee, 2012. "The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Educational Attainment: Evidence from Modern Mandatory School Vaccination Laws," Working Papers 1202, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 29 Oct 2012.
    13. McEwan, Patrick J., 2013. "The impact of Chile's school feeding program on education outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 122-139.
    14. 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, vol. 36(C), pages 88-107.

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