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Do you get what you pay for with school-based health programs? Evidence from a child nutrition experiment in rural China

, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland, United States ; , , Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Institute for Geographical Sciences and Natural Resource Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences ; , School of Economics and Management, Northwest University, No. 1 Xuefu Road, Guodu Education and Technology Park, Chang-an District ; , , Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, United States

Economics of Education Review Volume 37, Number 1, ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This study uses a randomized controlled trial of a school-based anemia reduction program in rural China to examine how increased school emphasis on health promotion affects academic performance. Although education and health promotion are complementary functions of schools, they do compete for finite school resources. We compare the effects of a traditional program that provided only information about anemia and subsidies to an otherwise identical program that included performance incentives for school principals based on school-level anemia prevalence. By the end of the trial, exam scores among students who were anemic at baseline improved under both versions of the program, but scores among students in the incentive group who were healthy at baseline fell relative to healthy students in the control group. Results suggest that performance incentives to improve student health increase the impact of school-based programs on student health outcomes, but may also lead to reallocation of school resources.


Sylvia, S., Luo, R., Zhang, L., Shi, Y., Medina, A. & Rozelle, S. (2013). Do you get what you pay for with school-based health programs? Evidence from a child nutrition experiment in rural China. Economics of Education Review, 37(1), 1-12. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved October 4, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Economics of Education Review on March 1, 2019. Economics of Education Review is a publication of Elsevier.

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