Hunger and Performance in the Classroom
Bidisha Barooah () and
Rohini Somanathan ()
Additional contact information
Bidisha Barooah: International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)
No 12627, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)
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 India's 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.
Keywords: school meals; malnourishment; performance; classroom; maze puzzles; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 I25 H52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 49 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12627
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Holger Hinte ().