October 15, 2015
29% of the 1.4 million eligible children do not participate in the UK's
Free School Meals programme. Like other welfare benefits, take-up of
free school meals is affected by stigma and lack of information. This
paper uses a fixed-effect instrumental variables strategy to evaluate
the role of peer-group participation in overcoming these barriers.
Identification of endogenous peer effects is achieved by exploiting a
scheme that extended free school meal entitlement to all children in
some areas. Results show that a 10 percentage point rise in peer-group
take-up reduces non-participation by 3.3–4.0 percentage points, or
between 29% and 35%.
Volume and page numbers
Volume: 82 , p.976 -993
Take-up of Free School Meals: price effects and peer effectsAngus Holford,
ISER Working Paper Series - 20120720