Program > Papers by author > Farquharson Christine

Monday 12
B1 - Education, development programs II
Chair: Jean Hindriks
› 14:30 - 14:55 (25min)
› Room 522 - S. Bernhardt
The causal impact of breakfast club provision on academic attainment
Christine Farquharson  1@  , Ellen Greaves  1, 2@  , Claire Crawford  1, 3@  
1 : Institute for Fiscal Studies  (IFS)  -  Website
The Institute for Fiscal Studies 7 Ridgmount Street, London WC1E 7AE. -  United Kingdom
2 : Department of Economics, University of Bristol
3 : Department of Economics
University of Warwick -  United Kingdom

This paper investigates the impact of universal free breakfast provision for relatively disadvantaged schools on students' academic attainment using a randomised controlled trial, finding a meaningful and significant positive impact. The large scale – 106 schools – and ‘real-world' implementation setting allow us to estimate externally valid effects of the intervention. Using rich administrative data on pupil test scores linked to survey data on a wide range of potential mechanisms, we find that universal breakfast provision has a positive impact on pupil attainment of over 10% of a standard deviation after one year, equivalent to around two months' expected pupil progress. The most likely mechanism for this marked increase is improvement in the classroom environment, which affects all pupils through positive peer effects, although increased learning time may also play a role. The improvements are generally as strong or stronger for pupils who were already eating breakfast at baseline, suggesting that the content and/or context of the school breakfast is an important element of the intervention.

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