Take-up of Free School Meals: price effects and peer effects
Almost 300,000 entitled children do not participate in the UKâ€™s Free School Meals (FSM) programme, worth up to Â£400 per year. Welfare take-up can be deterred by stigma and lack of information. This paper uses a school-level dataset and fixed-effect instrumental variables strategy to show that peer-group participation has a substantial role in overcoming these barriers. Identification of endogenous peer effects is achieved by exploiting a scheme which extended FSM entitlement to all children in some school cohorts. Results show that in a typical school a 10 percentage point rise in peer-group take-up would reduce non-participation by almost a quarter.
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NBER Working Papers
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