Nutrition and Cognitive Achievement: An Evaluation of the School Breakfast Program

J Public Econ. 2015 Apr 1;124:91-104. doi: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2014.12.003.


This paper investigates the impact of the School Breakfast Program (SBP) on cognitive achievement. The SBP is a federal entitlement program that offers breakfast to any student, including free breakfast for any low-income student, who attends a school that participates in the program. To increase the availability of the SBP, many states mandate that schools participate in the program if the percent of free or reduced-price eligible students in a school exceeds a specific threshold. Using the details of these mandates as a source of identifying variation, I find that the availability of the program increases student achievement.

Keywords: School Breakfast Program; achievement; education; nutrition.