ESTIMATION OF TREATMENT EFFECTS WITHOUT AN EXCLUSION RESTRICTION: WITH AN APPLICATION TO THE ANALYSIS OF THE SCHOOL BREAKFAST PROGRAM

Authors


Correspondence to: Daniel L. Millimet, Department of Economics, Southern Methodist University, Box 0496, Dallas, TX 75275-0496, USA. E-mail: millimet@smu.edu

SUMMARY

The increase in childhood obesity has garnered the attention of many in policymaking circles. Consequently, school nutrition programs such as the School Breakfast Program (SBP) have come under scrutiny. The identification of the causal effects of such programs, however, is difficult owing to non-random selection into the program and the lack of exclusion restrictions. Here, we propose two new estimators aimed at addressing this situation. We compare our new estimators to existing approaches using simulated data. We show that while correlations might suggest that SBP causes childhood obesity, SBP is likely to reduce childhood obesity once selection is addressed. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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