Timothée Demont : timothee.demont[at]univ-amu.fr
Roberta Ziparo : rziparo[at]gmail.com
We examine the long-term impact of a policy that introduced free and nutritious school lunches in Swedish primary schools. We use historical data on the gradual implementation of the policy across municipalities and use a difference-in-differences design to estimate the impact of the policy on a broad range of adult outcomes, including lifetime income, height, cognitive skills, and education. Our results show that access to free school lunches in primary school increases lifetime earnings by about 3 percent and that the effect was greater for pupils that were exposed at earlier ages and for pupils from poor households. We also show that exposure to the school lunch program had substantial effects educational attainment on height and that these effects could explain a large part of the returns to school lunches.