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The impact of school lunches on school enrolment: Evidence from an exogenous policy change in India


  • Jayaraman, Rajshri


Education is thought to be central to economic development. Yet, relatively little is known about how developing countries might advance school participation. In November, 2001 the Indian Supreme Court issued a remarkable interim order directing errant Indian states to other children in government primary schools a warm school lunch. This paper uses this exogenous policy change to evaluate the impact of school lunches on early primary school enrolment. It finds that the introduction of a school lunch is associated with a 25 per cent increase in class 1 enrolment. There is, however, no evidence to suggest that school lunches bridge the overall gender or caste gaps in enrolment.

Suggested Citation

  • Jayaraman, Rajshri, 2009. "The impact of school lunches on school enrolment: Evidence from an exogenous policy change in India," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Frankfurt a.M. 2009 15, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec09:15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dreze, Jean & Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi, 2001. "School Participation in Rural India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 1-24, February.
    2. Dreze, Jean & Goyal, Aparajita, 2003. "Future of Mid-Day Meals," MPRA Paper 17386, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    More about this item


    education; school lunches; quasi-natural experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • O22 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Project Analysis
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


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