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School Meals as a Safety Net: An Evaluation of the Midday Meal Scheme in India

Publisher: Young Lives

Despite the popularity of school meals as interventions in education, little evidence exists on their effect on health outcomes. This study uses newly available longitudinal data from the State of Andhra Pradesh in India to assess the impact of the introduction of a national midday meal programme on the anthropometric z-scores of primary school students, and investigates whether the programme had any impact on ameliorating the deterioration of health in young children resulting from a severe drought. Correcting for self-selection into the programme using a non-linearity in the probability of enrolment, we find that the programme acts as a safety net for children, cushioning them from negative nutritional factors; in particular, there are large and significant health gains for children whose families were affected by the drought.

Author(s): Stefan Dercon, Albert Park, Abhijeet Singh | Views(376)

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