Impact evaluation of school feeding programs in Lao PDR
Despite the popularity and widespread implementation of school feeding programs, evidence on the impact of school feeding on school participation and nutritional status is mixed. This study evaluates school feeding programs in three northern districts of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Feeding modalities included on-site feeding, take-home rations, and a combination. District-level implementation of the intervention sites and selective take-up present considerable evaluation challenges. To address these limitations, the authors use difference-in-difference estimators with propensity-score weighting to construct two plausible counterfactuals. They find minimal evidence that the school feeding schemes increased enrollment or improved children’s nutritional status. Several robustness checks and possible explanations for null findings are presented.
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