Hunger and performance in the classroom / Farzana Afridi (Indian Statistical Institute and IZA), Bidisha Barooah (International Initiative for Impact Evaluation), Rohini Somanathan (University of Delhi) ; IZA Institute of Labor Economics
VerfasserAfridi, Farzana ; Barooah, Bidisha ; Somanathan, Rohini
KörperschaftForschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit
ErschienenBonn, Germany : IZA Institute of Labor Economics, September 2019
Elektronische Ressource
Umfang1 Online-Ressource (47 Seiten) : Diagramme
SerieDiscussion paper ; no. 12627
 Das Dokument ist öffentlich zugänglich im Rahmen des deutschen Urheberrechts.
Hunger and performance in the classroom [1.06 mb]
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Hunger and malnourishment can adversely affect students' performance by lowering their effort and cognition during school hours. We conduct a lab-in-the field experiment, leveraging the extension of Indias school meal program from primary to middle grades, to study the effects of school-based supplementary nutrition on students' cognitive effort in the classroom. Using individual level data on the performance of students in a cognitive task both before and after the extension of the program as well as pre and post meal recess on a school day, we find that the provision of meals improved the cognitive performance of students by 13% to 16%. This result is robust to unobserved heterogeneity in school quality and student ability. Our findings suggest that short-term improvements in classroom attention and effort due to school meals can be a mechanism through which longer-term learning outcomes may improve in developing countries.