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

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  • Vermeersch, Christel
  • Kremer, Michael

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Vermeersch, Christel & Kremer, Michael, 2005. "Schools meals, educational achievement and school competition: evidence from a randomized evaluation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3523, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3523
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bütikofer, Aline & Mølland, Eirin & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2016. "Childhood Nutrition and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from a School Breakfast Program," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 15/2016, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    2. Orazem, Peter, 2007. "Lack of Education," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12671, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Maria Cheung & Maria Perrotta Berlin, 2015. "The Impact of a Food for Education Program on Schooling in Cambodia," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 44-57, January.
    4. Orazem, Peter & Glewwe, Paul & Patrinos, Harry, 2007. "The Benefits and Costs of Alternative Strategies to Improve Educational Outcomes," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12853, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Patrick J. McEwan, 2012. "Cost-effectiveness analysis of education and health interventions in developing countries," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 189-213, June.
    6. Singh, Prakarsh, 2011. "Performance Pay and Information: Reducing Child Malnutrition in Urban Slums," MPRA Paper 29403, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Afridi, Farzana, 2010. "Child welfare programs and child nutrition: Evidence from a mandated school meal program in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 152-165, July.
    8. Singh, Prakarsh, 2015. "Performance pay and information: Reducing child undernutrition in India," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 141-163.
    9. Uwe DUlleck & Juliana Silva-Goncalves & Benno Torgler, 2014. "Impact Evaluation of an Incentive Program on Educational Achievement of Indigenous Students," QuBE Working Papers 026, QUT Business School.
    10. Masino, Serena & Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel, 2016. "What works to improve the quality of student learning in developing countries?," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 53-65.

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