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Adequate (or Adipose?) Yearly Progress: Assessing the Effect of "No Child Left Behind" on Children's Obesity

Listed author(s):
  • Patricia M. Anderson
  • Kristin F. Butcher
  • Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

This paper investigates how accountability pressures under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) may affect children's rate of overweight. Schools facing increased pressures to produce academic outcomes may reallocate their efforts in ways that have unintended consequences for children's health. For example, schools may cut back on recess and physical education in favor of increasing time on tested subjects. To examine the impact of school accountability programs, we create a unique panel data set of schools in Arkansas that allows us to test the impact of NCLB rules on students' weight outcomes. Our main approach is to consider schools to be facing increased pressures if they are on the margin of passing - that is, if any subgroup at the school has a passing rate that is close to the AYP passing threshold, where we define close as being 5 percentage points above or below the threshold. We find evidence of small effects of accountability pressures on the percent of students at a school that are overweight. A follow-up survey of school principals points to reductions in physical activity and worsening of the food environment as potential mechanisms.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16873.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16873.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
Publication status: published as Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2017. "Adequate (or Adipose?) Yearly Progress: Assessing the Effect of “No Child Left Behind” on Children's Obesity," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 12(1), pages 54-76, Winter.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16873
Note: CH ED HE
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  1. Cawley, John & Frisvold, David & Meyerhoefer, Chad, 2013. "The impact of physical education on obesity among elementary school children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 743-755.
  2. Randall Reback & Jonah Rockoff & Heather L. Schwartz, 2014. "Under Pressure: Job Security, Resource Allocation, and Productivity in Schools under No Child Left Behind," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 207-241, August.
  3. Figlio, David N. & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 2006. "Do accountability and voucher threats improve low-performing schools?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 239-255, January.
  4. Chakrabarti, Rajashri, 2014. "Incentives and responses under No Child Left Behind: Credible threats and the role of competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 124-146.
  5. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2013. "Vouchers, Public School Response, And The Role Of Incentives: Evidence From Florida," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 500-526, 01.
  6. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877.
  7. Figlio, David N., 2006. "Testing, crime and punishment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 837-851, May.
  8. Thomas S. Dee & Brian Jacob, 2011. "The impact of no Child Left Behind on student achievement," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(3), pages 418-446, Summer.
  9. Janet Currie & Stefano DellaVigna & Enrico Moretti & Vikram Pathania, 2010. "The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity and Weight Gain," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 32-63, August.
  10. Rajashri Chakrabarti, 2013. "Accountability with Voucher Threats, Responses, and the Test-Taking Population: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Florida," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 8(2), pages 121-167, April.
  11. John Cawley & Chad Meyerhoefer & David Newhouse, 2007. "The impact of state physical education requirements on youth physical activity and overweight," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(12), pages 1287-1301.
  12. Jonah Rockoff & Lesley J. Turner, 2010. "Short-Run Impacts of Accountability on School Quality," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 119-147, November.
  13. Elizabeth Davidson & Randall Reback & Jonah E. Rockoff & Heather L. Schwartz, 2013. "Fifty Ways to Leave a Child Behind: Idiosyncrasies and Discrepancies in States' Implementation of NCLB," NBER Working Papers 18988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Julie Berry Cullen & Randall Reback, 2006. "Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System," NBER Working Papers 12286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Reback, Randall, 2008. "Teaching to the rating: School accountability and the distribution of student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1394-1415, June.
  16. Cecilia Elena Rouse & Jane Hannaway & Dan Goldhaber & David Figlio, 2013. "Feeling the Florida Heat? How Low-Performing Schools Respond to Voucher and Accountability Pressure," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 251-281, May.
  17. Jacob, Brian A., 2005. "Accountability, incentives and behavior: the impact of high-stakes testing in the Chicago Public Schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 761-796, June.
  18. Bokhari, Farasat A.S. & Schneider, Helen, 2011. "School accountability laws and the consumption of psychostimulants," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 355-372, March.
  19. Figlio, David N. & Winicki, Joshua, 2005. "Food for thought: the effects of school accountability plans on school nutrition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 381-394, February.
  20. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2017. "Adequate (or Adipose?) Yearly Progress: Assessing the Effect of “No Child Left Behind” on Children's Obesity," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 12(1), pages 54-76, Winter.
  21. repec:mpr:mprres:6364 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Thomas Dee & Brian Jacob, 2009. "The Impact of No Child Left Behind on Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 15531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Chiang, Hanley, 2009. "How accountability pressure on failing schools affects student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1045-1057, October.
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