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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    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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