The Impact of school meals on school participation: Evidence from rural India
This paper assesses the effect of transition from monthly distribution of free food grains to the daily provision of free cooked meals to school children on enrollments and attendance in a rural area of India. School panel data allow a difference-in-differences estimation strategy to address possible endogeneity of program placement. The results suggest that program transition had a significant impact on improving the daily participation rates of children in lower grades. The average monthly attendance rate of girls in grade 1 was more than 12 percentage points higher while there was a positive but insignificant effect on grade 1 boys' attendance rate. The impact on enrollment levels was insignificant.
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