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Schools meals, educational achievement and school competition: evidence from a randomized evaluation

  • Vermeersch, Christel
  • Kremer, Michael
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    This paper examines the effects of subsidized school meals on school participation, educational achievement, and school finance in a developing country setting. The paper uses data from a program that was implemented in 25 randomly chosen preschools in a pool of 50. Children's school participation was 30 percent higher in the treatment group than in the comparison group. The meals program led to higher curriculum test scores, but only in schools where the teacher was relatively experienced prior to the program. The school meals displaced teaching time and led to larger class sizes. Despite improved incentives, teacher absenteeism remained at a high level of 30 percent. Treatment schools raised their fees, and comparison schools close to treatment schools decreased their fees. Some of the price effects are due to a combination of capacity constraints and pupil transfers that would not happen if the school meals were offered in all schools. The intention-to-treat estimator of the effect of the randomized program incorporates those price effects, and therefore it should be considered a lower bound on the effect of generalized school meals. This insight on price effects generalizes to other randomized program evaluations.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3523.

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    Date of creation: 11 Feb 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3523
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    1. Ahmed, Akhter U. & del Ninno, Carlo, 2002. "The Food For Education program in Bangladesh," FCND discussion papers 138, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Jere Behrman & Victor Lavy, . "Child Health and Schooling Achievement: Association, Causality and Household Allocations," CARESS Working Papres 97-23, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
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    4. Paul Glewwe & Michael Kremer & Sylvie Moulin & Eric Zitzewitz, 2000. "Retrospective vs. Prospective Analyses of School Inputs: The Case of Flip Charts in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 8018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Lokshin, Michael M. & Glinskaya, Elena & Garcia, Marito, 2000. "The effect of early childhood development programs on women's labor force participation and older children's schooling in Kenya," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2376, The World Bank.
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    7. Jean Dr├Ęze & Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 1999. "School Participation in Rural India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 18, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    8. Harold Alderman & Jere Behrman & Victory Lavy & Rekha Menon, . "Child Nutrition, Child Health, and School Enrollment: A Longitudinal Analysis," CARESS Working Papres 97-21, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
    9. 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.
    10. Glewwe, Paul & Jacoby, Hanan G. & King, Elizabeth M., 2001. "Early childhood nutrition and academic achievement: a longitudinal analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 345-368, September.
    11. Behrman, Jere R. & Hoddinott, John, 2001. "An evaluation of the impact of PROGRESA on pre-school child height," FCND discussion papers 104, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. Blau, David M & Robins, Philip K, 1988. "Child-Care Costs and Family Labor Supply," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(3), pages 374-81, August.
    13. Hanan G. Jacoby, 1997. "Self-Selection and the Redistributive Impact of In-Kind Transfers: An Econometric Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(2), pages 223-249.
    14. Jamison, Dean T., 1986. "Child malnutrition and school performance in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 299-309, March.
    15. Glewwe, Paul & Jacoby, Hanan G, 1995. "An Economic Analysis of Delayed Primary School Enrollment in a Low Income Country: The Role of Early Childhood Nutrition," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 156-69, February.
    16. Glewwe, Paul & Jocoby, Hanan & King, Elizabeth M., 1999. "Early childhood nutrition and academic achievement," FCND discussion papers 68, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    17. Tan, Jee-Peng & Lane, Julia & Lassibille, Gerard, 1999. "Student Outcomes in Philippine Elementary Schools: An Evaluation of Four Experiments," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(3), pages 493-508, September.
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