Fostering human capital development through school feeding and teacher incentives

Last registered on May 17, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Fostering human capital development through school feeding and teacher incentives
Initial registration date
May 11, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 17, 2023, 2:31 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

World Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
World Food Programme
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
World Food Programme
PI Affiliation
World Bank

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
School attendance and learning in lower-income countries are hampered by both demand and supply constraints. On the demand side, health and nutrition may affect attendance, potentially compounded by competing demands on a child’s time. On the supply side, low levels of teacher attendance may affect schooling decisions and learning. We cross-randomize teacher incentives with the randomized expansion of the national school feeding program to study the impacts of relaxing demand and supply constraints individually and jointly. We also exploit seasonal variation to further shed light on demand-side mechanisms and provide novel evidence on the role of school feeding programs as a social safety net for protecting children against shocks and stressors.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Christian, Paul et al. 2023. "Fostering human capital development through school feeding and teacher incentives." AEA RCT Registry. May 17.
Experimental Details


School feeding intervention - Schools assigned to the school feeding program receive resources from the WFP to provide meals to students five days a week. Each school food management committee is in charge of selecting the suppliers and preparing the daily meal for the students. The target is to provide children a meal with a daily average of 580 Kcal. The meals include five typical Gambian dishes. Following the WFP school procurement manual, the schools purchase food items from local communities. The WFP monitors the schools’ procurement practices to ensure they adhere to the manual. The first meals were provided to students in January 2022.
Teacher Incentives intervention - The teacher incentive program provides grade 3 teachers in selected schools with a bonus to perform a daily data collection task that requires them to be present at the school. Teachers are asked to keep daily records of which kids received a school meal (in schools receiving school feeding) or brought/bought breakfast (in schools that do not receive school feeding). A meal ledger was prepared for teachers to record this information in a consistent manner. Teachers assigned to receive the incentive are provided a monthly bonus equal to a maximum of 500 Dalasi, roughly 10 percent of their monthly salary, for filling the meal ledger; the payment is proportional to the number of days the ledger is filled conditional on having filled a minimum number of days.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
First Stage Outcomes: child dietary diversity, child food insecurity experience scale, teacher attendance.
Second Stage Outcomes: child mental health/psychological wellbeing (life satisfaction, stress, depression, agency), child physical health (health status, nutritional status), child school attendance, child school progression (dropout, repetition, grade progression), learning (reading skills, numeracy and mathematics skills), child cognitive ability (attention span, verbal working memory, fluid intelligence).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We leverage the expansion of school meal coverage supported by the World Food Programme’s (WFP) in certain regions. Due to financial constraints, the program expansion was limited to 46 additional schools. We randomly assign 92 schools to a treatment or control group: in school feeding treatment schools, all students receive a warm nutritious lunch; students in control schools do not.
Additionally, we investigate supply-side constraints to school attendance and learning by cross-randomizing a teacher incentives arm designed to increase teacher attendance. We ask teachers to complete a daily meal ledger for the classroom and in return, offer a payment equivalent to 10% of their salary. The daily meal ledger indicates whether each student received a meal that day. To fill the ledger, teachers must be present on school, and multiple checks are put in place to ensure that the incentives are conditional on teacher attendance. Cross-randomizing this incentive arm with the school feeding arm allows us to investigate potential complementarity between demand (school-feeding) and supply (teacher attendance) side interventions.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Primary Schools (Clusters)
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
92 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
2175 children
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
School feeding and teacher incentives: 23 schools, 608 students, 31 teachers
School feeding no teacher incentives: 23 schools, 539 students, 26 teachers
No school feeding and teacher incentives: 23 schools, 470 students, 30 teachers
No school feeding and no teacher incentives: 23 schools, 558 students, 27 teachers
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We base our power calculations on five measures: numeracy test scores, household dietary diversity, household food expenditures, weight-for-age, and height-for-age. These measures were chosen for their similarity with the main outcomes of our analysis (data on our exact main outcomes are not available). Assuming 46 schools per treatment arm, 20 children per school, and power of the test of 80% yields a minimum detectable effect of 0.19 standard deviations for the standardized numeracy test scores and weight-for-age z-score, and of 0.18 standard deviations for the height-for-age z-score; these are outcomes for which we plan one follow-up measurement (Table 4). With five follow-up measurements for dietary diversity and food expenditures (Table 4), assuming a correlation of 0.2 between follow-up measurements, our experiment is powered to detect a 0.11 standard deviations or 0.24 units increase in dietary diversity (with mean of 8.41 and standard deviation of 2.14 in the control group) and a 0.11 standard deviations or 2.96 dollar increase in weekly household food expenditures (with mean of 41.43 dollars and standard deviation of 27.04 in the control group). Increasing the correlation between followup rounds to 0.5 yields a minimum detectable effect of 0.15 and 0.14 for dietary diversity and food expenditures respectively. Test scores data come from the 2011 wave of the Africa Program for Education Impact Evaluation (APEIE). Household dietary diversity and food expenditures come from the 2015 wave of the Gambia Integrated Household Survey on Consumption Expenditure and Poverty Level Assessment (IHS). Weight-for-age and height-for-age data come from the 2019-2020 wave of the Gambia Demographic and Health survey (DHS).

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
The Gambia Government/Medical Research Council Joint Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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