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School Feeding Programs and th e Nutrition of Siblings: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rural Burkina Faso


  • Harounan Kazianga

    () (Oklahoma State University)

  • Damien de Walque

    () (The World Bank, Washington DC)

  • Harold Alderman

    () (The World Bank, Washington DC)


This paper uses a prospective randomized tria l to assess the impact of two school feeding schemes on health outcomes for pre-school age children from low-income households in northern rural Burkina Faso. The two school feed ing programs under consideration are, on the one hand, school meals where students are provided with lunch each school day, and, on the other hand, take home rations which provide girls with 10 kg of cereal flour each month, conditional on 90 percent attendance rate. A unique feature of this program is that data were collected for both children who were enrolled in school and those who we re not, hence allowing a direct measure of the spillover effect on child ren who are too young to be enrolled. After the program ran for one academic year, we found the following impacts on children age 5 and under: take-home rations have increase d weight-for-age by 0.34 standard deviations for boys and girls taken jointly, and by 0.57 standard deviations for boys taken separately. The school meals intervention has increased weight-for-age by 0.40 for boys. Neither program had significant impact on girls taken separately. We show that achieving the same gains through increased household expenditures would have required cash transfers much larger than the monetary value of the food transfers. This indicates that most of the gains are realized through intra-household food reallocation.

Suggested Citation

  • Harounan Kazianga & Damien de Walque & Harold Alderman, 2009. "School Feeding Programs and th e Nutrition of Siblings: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rural Burkina Faso," Economics Working Paper Series 0908, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:okl:wpaper:0908

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Akresh, 2009. "Flexibility of Household Structure: Child Fostering Decisions in Burkina Faso," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
    2. Robert Breunig & Indraneel Dasgupta, 2005. "Do Intra-Household Effects Generate the Food Stamp Cash-Out Puzzle?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(3), pages 552-568.
    3. Lawrence Haddad & Harold Alderman & Simon Appleton & Lina Song & Yisehac Yohannes, 2003. "Reducing Child Malnutrition: How Far Does Income Growth Take Us?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 107-131, June.
    4. Ross, Thomas W, 1991. "On the Relative Efficiency of Cash Transfers and Subsidies," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(3), pages 485-496, July.
    5. Thomas M. Fraker & Alberto P. Martini & James C. Ohls, 1995. "The Effect of Food Stamp Cashout on Food Expenditures: An Assessment of the Findings from Four Demonstrations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 633-649.
    6. Adelman, Sarah W. & Gilligan, Daniel O. & Lehrer, Kim, 2008. "How effective are food for education programs?: A critical assessment of the evidence from developing countries," Food policy reviews 9, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Peter Kooreman, 2000. "The Labeling Effect of a Child Benefit System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 571-583, June.
    8. Janet Currie & Firouz Gahvari, 2008. "Transfers in Cash and In-Kind: Theory Meets the Data," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 333-383, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Piper, Brian, 2014. "A production function examination of the aggregate effects of nutrition," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 293-307.
    2. Gelli, Aulo & Espejo, Francisco & Shen, Jing & Kristjansson, Elizabeth, 2014. "Putting it all together: Aggregating impacts of school-feeding programmes on education, health and nutrition: two proposed methodologies," WIDER Working Paper Series 036, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Ouedraogo, Aissatou & Dillon, Andrew & Maiga, Eugenie W.H., 2018. "Social networks, production of micronutrient-rich foods, and child health outcomes in Burkina Faso," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 273883, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item


    School feeding; pre-school age childre n nutrition; intra-household; randomized trial;

    JEL classification:

    • H - Public Economics
    • I - Health, Education, and Welfare
    • O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth


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