School meal crowd-out in the 1980s

Thursday 5 July 2012, 2.00PM to 3.15pm

Speaker(s): Dr Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder, Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York

Abstract: This paper explores whether the state provision of school meals in the 1980s crowded out private provision by examining two policy reforms that radically altered the UK school meal service. I find strong evidence of crowd out: the reforms reduced school meal take-up among the treated by 20-30 percentage points, with no difference among the controls. I then examine whether this affected children’s weights, using a large, unique, longitudinal dataset of primary school children from 1972–1994. This period is characterized by (for some) relative scarcity of foods. As such, nutritionists expected children to become malnourished. The findings, however, show no evidence of any effects. I therefore investigate whether families protected children through household food reallocation, examining the effects of the reforms on parental body weight. The findings also show no support for within-household food reallocation. I discuss the potential explanations and implications of these findings.

Location: Alcuin A019/020

Who to contact

For more information on these seminars, contact:

Maria Jose Aragon
Jessica Ochalek

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