Discussion Paper Icon

The School Breakfast Program and Breakfast Consumption

This paper analyzes the effect of participation in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) on breakfast consumption using time-diary data from the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Participation effects are identified by comparing differences in breakfast patterns between weekdays (when children are in school) and weekends (when they are not), for program participants versus nonparticipants. Results suggest that the SBP is associated with a significant reduction in the likelihood of eating breakfast. Additional analyses of the availability of the SBP in schools and adjustments for the quality of the time-diary data fail to alter this basic result. A plausible interpretation of this counter-intuitive result is that, contrary to parents’ expectations, participating children may not actually be eating the breakfasts provided at school.


Children, Children General, Economic Support, Food & Nutrition, Food Assistance, Means-Tested Programs