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Improving Children Health and Cognition: Evidence from School-Based Nutrition Intervention in India

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  • Krämer, Marion
  • Kumar, Santosh
  • Vollmer, Sebastian

Abstract

We present experimental evidence on the impact of delivering double-fortified salt (DFS), salt fortified with iron and iodine, through the Indian school-feeding program called “mid-day meal” on anemia, cognition, and math and reading scores of primary school children. We conducted a field experiment that randomly provided a one-year supply of DFS at a subsidized price to public primary schools to prepare mid-day meal in one of the poorest regions of India. The DFS treatment had significantly positive impacts on hemoglobin levels and reduced the prevalence of anemia by 20 percent but these health gains did not translate into statistically significant impacts on cognition and test scores. While exploring the heterogeneity in effects, we find that treatment had statistically significant gains in anemia and test scores among children with higher treatment compliance. We further estimate that the intervention was very cost effective and can potentially be scaled up without much financial burden.

Suggested Citation

  • Krämer, Marion & Kumar, Santosh & Vollmer, Sebastian, 2018. "Improving Children Health and Cognition: Evidence from School-Based Nutrition Intervention in India," GLO Discussion Paper Series 203, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:203
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/179540/1/GLO-DP-0203.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Abhijit Banerjee & Sharon Barnhardt & Esther Duflo, 2015. "Movies, Margins, and Marketing: Encouraging the Adoption of Iron-Fortified Salt," NBER Chapters,in: Insights in the Economics of Aging, pages 285-306 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Janet Currie & Tom Vogl, 2013. "Early-Life Health and Adult Circumstance in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, May.
    3. Sarah Baird & Joan Hamory Hicks & Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2016. "Worms at Work: Long-run Impacts of a Child Health Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(4), pages 1637-1680.
    4. Nava Ashraf & Erica Field & Jean Lee, 2014. "Household Bargaining and Excess Fertility: An Experimental Study in Zambia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 2210-2237, July.
    5. Sylvie Moulin & Michael Kremer & Paul Glewwe, 2009. "Many Children Left Behind? Textbooks and Test Scores in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 112-135, January.
    6. repec:wbk:wbpubs:26447 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Abhijit Banerjee & Sharon Barnhardt & Esther Duflo, 2016. "Can Iron-Fortified Salt Control Anemia? Evidence from Two Experiments in Rural Bihar," NBER Working Papers 22121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. John A. Maluccio & John Hoddinott & Jere R. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Agnes R. Quisumbing & Aryeh D. Stein, 2009. "The Impact of Improving Nutrition During Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 734-763, April.
    9. Abhijit Banerjee & Sharon Barnhardt & Esther Duflo, 2013. "Nutrition, Iron Deficiency Anemia, and the Demand for Iron-Fortified Salt: Evidence from an Experiment in Rural Bihar," NBER Chapters,in: Discoveries in the Economics of Aging, pages 343-384 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Gustavo J. Bobonis & Edward Miguel & Charu Puri-Sharma, 2006. "Anemia and School Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Double-fortified salt; education; anemia; cognition; school-children; mid-day meal; India; randomized controlled trial;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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