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

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  • Dercon, Stefan
  • Park, Albert
  • Singh, Abhijeet

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 non-linearity in how age affects the probability of enrolment, 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

  • Dercon, Stefan & Park, Albert & Singh, Abhijeet, 2012. "School Meals as a Safety Net: An Evaluation of the Midday Meal Scheme in India," CEPR Discussion Papers 9031, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9031
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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. 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.
    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. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Alderman, Harold, 2014. "Can transfer programs be made more nutrition sensitive?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1342, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. repec:spr:demogr:v:55:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-018-0669-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Chakraborty, Tanika & Jayaraman, Rajshri, 2016. "School Feeding and Learning Achievement: Evidence from India's Midday Meal Program," IZA Discussion Papers 10086, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. 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).
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. Sudha Narayanan Narayanan & Nicolas Gerber, 2016. "Safety Nets for Food and Nutritional Security in India," FOODSECURE Working papers 37, LEI Wageningen UR.
    17. 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).
    18. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:555-572 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    health; India; nutrition; school meals;

    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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