ISER Working Paper Series 2012-12
Take-up of Free School Meals: price effects and peer effects
20 Jul 2012
Almost 300,000 entitled children do not participate
in the UK’s Free School Meals (FSM) programme, worth up to £400 per year.
Welfare take-up can be deterred by stigma and lack of information. This paper uses a
school-level dataset and fixed-effect instrumental variables strategy to show
that peer-group participation has a substantial role in overcoming these
barriers. Identification of endogenous peer effects is achieved by exploiting a
scheme which extended FSM entitlement to all children in some school cohorts.
Results show that in a typical school a 10 percentage point rise in peer-group
take-up would reduce non-participation by almost a quarter.
Is referred to by: Finn, D. and Goodship, J. (2014) Take-up of benefits and poverty: an evidence and policy review. London: Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion