Breakfast at School: A First Look at the Role of Time and Location for Participation and Nutritional Intake
19 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2020
Date Written: January 2019
Participation in the subsidized School Breakfast Program has traditionally been unsatisfactory. Universally free breakfast service in the classroom has boosted participation, but is not financially feasible for many schools. Furthermore, it is unclear to what extent participation under the standard cafeteria setting is hampered due to insufficient time to eat. This study separately identifies time and location effects using a unique, individual‐level panel data set of elementary school students under three experimental treatments: original setup in the cafeteria, original setup plus ten minutes of mandatory presence in the cafeteria, and in‐classroom service. We find that the extra time plus the fixed location effect in the cafeteria increases average daily participation by approximately 20%, while the transition to classroom implementation adds another 35%–45% for the typical student. We also collect detailed data on nutritional intake, and find that, in total, neither treatment has a significant effect on consumption compared to the baseline.
Keywords: Children's nutrition, field experiment, panel data models, subsidized school meals
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