The Department of Economics Applied Microeconomics Seminar Series presents

"The Effect of Breakfast in the Classroom on Obesity and Academic Performance: Evidence from New York City"
with Sean Corcoran, Associate Professor of Educational Economics, New York University

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Social Science Plaza B, Room 3266 (Econ Library)

Participation in the federally-subsidized school breakfast program (SBP) often falls well below that of the lunch program. In NYC, for example, less than one third of all students take a school breakfast each day, even though it is provided free to all students and roughly three in four students are poor. To increase participation, many schools have adopted Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC), serving breakfast direct to students in class at the start of the school day. Breakfast consumption has been found to improve child cognitive performance, and two recent studies have found a positive effect of BIC on achievement. Its effects on obesity, however, are unknown. In this talk, Corcoran exploits the staggered introduction of BIC in NYC to estimate its impact on meal participation, obesity, BMI, academic performance, attendance, and perceptions of the school environment. He finds little evidence that BIC increased obesity, and some evidence it reduced it, particularly among middle school girls. There are mostly positive effects of BIC on achievement, with the largest effects for boys. These effects are, however, much smaller than those found in previous studies. He finds consistently positive, but small, effects of BIC on attendance rates. The results of this paper are preliminary.

For further information, please contact Gloria Simpson, or 949-824-5788.

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