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"Billions and Billions Served" Heterogeneous Effects of Food Source on Child Dietary Quality

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  • Smith, Travis A.

Abstract

This paper estimates heterogeneous effects of food source (food away from home, at home and from school) on child dietary quality. Using a quantile estimator designed for panel data, two non-consecutive days of intake are used to identify the effiect of food source across the unconditional distribution of dietary quality. Main results suggest that food away from home has a negative impact on dietary quality for all children except those falling in the very lowest portion of the unconditional distribution. As compared to home-prepared food, school food is found to increase dietary quality for children falling in the bottom quartile of the distribution. For children with a very high underlying proneness to consume a healthful diet, food from school has a negative effect. While food consumed under the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs may not benefit every child (especially at the mean), it does improve the diets of many children whom otherwise would have poorer dietary quality. The implication is that U.S. schools are fertile grounds to improve nutrition skill formation, especially for the most disadvantaged.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea13:151212
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    1. Lin, Biing-Hwan & Guthrie, Joanne F., 2012. "Nutritional Quality of Food Prepared at Home and Away From Home, 1977-2008," Economic Information Bulletin 142361, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    2. Daniel L. Millimet & Rusty Tchernis & Muna Husain, 2010. "School Nutrition Programs and the Incidence of Childhood Obesity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
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    4. 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.
    5. Philip M. Gleason & Carol W. Suitor, 2003. "Eating at School: How the National School Lunch Program Affects Children's Diets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(4), pages 1047-1061.
    6. James J. Heckman & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 446-493.
    7. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2009. "Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    8. Ralston, Katherine L. & Newman, Constance & Clauson, Annette L. & Guthrie, Joanne F. & Buzby, Jean C., 2008. "The National School Lunch Program: Background, Trends, and Issues," Economic Research Report 56464, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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    12. repec:ran:wpaper:710-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Charles F. Manski & John V. Pepper, 2000. "Monotone Instrumental Variables, with an Application to the Returns to Schooling," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 997-1012, July.
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    16. Mancino, Lisa & Todd, Jessica E. & Guthrie, Joanne F. & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2010. "How Food Away From Home Affects Children's Diet Quality," Economic Research Report 134700, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    17. Beatty, Timothy K.M. & Lin, Biing-Hwan & Smith, Travis A., 2012. "Distributional Changes in U.S. Dietary Quality 1989-2008," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124945, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unconditional quantiles; panel data; dietary quality; school food programs; Consumer/Household Economics; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Public Economics; C31; D39; I12; I18;

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • D39 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Other
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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