The Effect of Providing Breakfast on Student Performance: Evidence from an In-Class Breakfast Program

40 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2012 Last revised: 10 Jan 2012

See all articles by Scott A. Imberman

Scott A. Imberman

Michigan State University; Michigan State University - College of Education

Adriana D. Kugler

McCourt School of Public Policy ; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 2012

Abstract

In response to low take-up, many public schools have experimented with moving breakfast from the cafeteria to the classroom. We examine whether such a program increases performance as measured by standardized test scores, grades and attendance rates. We exploit quasi-random timing of program implementation that allows for a difference-in-differences identification strategy. Our main identification assumption is that schools where the program was introduced earlier would have evolved similarly to those where the program was introduced later. We find that in-class breakfast increases both math and reading achievement by about one-tenth of a standard deviation relative to providing breakfast in the cafeteria. Moreover, we find that these effects are most pronounced for low performing, free-lunch eligible, Hispanic, and low BMI students. We also find some improvements in attendance for high achieving students but no impact on grades.

Suggested Citation

Imberman, Scott Andrew and Kugler, Adriana Debora, The Effect of Providing Breakfast on Student Performance: Evidence from an In-Class Breakfast Program (January 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w17720. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1981144

Scott Andrew Imberman (Contact Author)

Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Michigan State University - College of Education ( email )

East Lansing, MI
United States

Adriana Debora Kugler

McCourt School of Public Policy ( email )

3700 O ST NW
311 Old North
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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