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School meal crowd out in the 1980s

  • von Hinke Kessler Scholder, SM

This paper explores whether state provision of school meals in the 1980s crowded out private provision by examining two UK policy reforms that dramatically reduced school meal take-up. The paper examines whether this affected children’s BMI, using a large, unique, longitudinal dataset of primary school children from 1972 – 1994. This period is characterized by –for some– relative scarcity of foods. The reforms placed further constraints on some families’ already tight food budgets, leading to nutritionists expecting children to become malnourished. The findings however, show no evidence of any such effects. In addition, I find no support for the hypothesis of intra-household food reallocation. As some of those affected are relatively poor, and as sample sizes are often large with fairly precise estimates, the analysis should have been able to detect any effects. With no such evidence, this suggests that the state provision of school meals was crowding out private provision of similarly nutritious packed and home lunches.

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Paper provided by Imperial College, London, Imperial College Business School in its series Working Papers with number 6942.

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Handle: RePEc:imp:wpaper:6942
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  1. P. Wilde & C. Ranney, . "A Monthly Cycle in Food Expenditure and Intake by Participants in the U.S. Food Stamp Program," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1163-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  2. Patrick Royston, 2004. "Multiple imputation of missing values," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 227-241, September.
  3. Daniel Millimet & Rusty Tchernis & Muna Hussain, 2007. "School Nutrition Programs and the Incidence of Childhood Obesity," Caepr Working Papers 2007-014, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  4. Susan Athey & Guido Imbens, 2003. "Identification and Inference in Nonlinear Difference-in-Differences Models," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000079, David K. Levine.
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  7. Gruber, Jonathan & Simon, Kosali, 2008. "Crowd-out 10 years later: Have recent public insurance expansions crowded out private health insurance?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 201-217, March.
  8. Douglas Almond & Hilary W. Hoynes & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2011. "Inside the War on Poverty: The Impact of Food Stamps on Birth Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 387-403, May.
  9. Jayanta Bhattacharya & Janet Currie & Steven Haider, 2004. "Breakfast of Champions? The School Breakfast Program and the Nutrition of Children and Families," NBER Working Papers 10608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Belot, Michèle & James, Jonathan, 2009. "Healthy school meals and educational outcomes," ISER Working Paper Series 2009-01, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  12. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
  13. A. Colin Cameron & Douglas L. Miller, 2010. "Robust Inference with Clustered Data," Working Papers 107, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  14. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "Does Public Insurance Crowd Out Private Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 5082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jonathan Gruber & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2005. "Faith-Based Charity and Crowd Out during the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 11332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Richard Dorsett & Christopher Heady, 1991. "The take-up of means-tested benefits by working families with children," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 12(4), pages 22-32, November.
  17. Sandra L. Hofferth & Sally Curtin, 2005. "Poverty, food programs, and childhood obesity," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 703-726.
  18. 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.
  19. Cullen, Julie Berry & Gruber, Jonathan, 2000. "Does Unemployment Insurance Crowd Out Spousal Labor Supply?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 546-72, July.
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