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The Benefits of Breast Feeding across the Early Years of Childhood

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  • Clive R. Belfield
  • Inas Rashad Kelly

Abstract

There has been much scrutiny recently of the choice to breast-feed rather than formula-feed an infant, yet key identification issues remain to be resolved. This study uses the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey—Birth Cohort to explore the causal effect of breast feeding on child development. Using simultaneous equations models and propensity score measures and adjusting for confounding factors, we examine health, physical, and cognitive outcomes and relate these to a set of breast feeding and formula feeding intensities measures. Our results indicate that breast feeding is protective against obesity and improves cognitive outcomes at 24 months and 54 months. Furthermore, not being formula-fed at birth is associated with higher motor scores.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/667415
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/667415
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Human Capital.

Volume (Year): 6 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 251 - 277

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:doi:10.1086/667415

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  1. Arthur Lewbel, 2003. "Using Heteroskedasticity to Identify and Estimate Mismeasured and Endogenous Regressor Models," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 587, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 15 Dec 2010.
  2. Chris M. Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2009. "Child Care Subsidies and Childhood Obesity," NBER Working Papers 15007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Chris M. Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2010. "The Impact of Child Care Subsidies on Child Well-Being: Evidence from Geographic Variation in the Distance to Social Service Agencies," Working Papers id:2739, eSocialSciences.
  4. Joseph J. Sabia, 2007. "The Effect of Body Weight on Adolescent Academic Performance," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 871–900, April.
  5. Daniel I. Rees & Joseph J. Sabia, 2009. "The Effect of Breast Feeding on Educational Attainment: Evidence from Sibling Data," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 43-72.
  6. Robert Pollak, 2003. "Gary Becker's Contributions to Family and Household Economics," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 111-141, January.
  7. Ted Joyce & Andrew Racine & Cristina Yunzal-Butler, 2008. "Reassessing the WIC effect: Evidence from the Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 277-303.
  8. Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Levine, Phillip B., 2003. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 477-504, May.
  9. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  10. Haines, Michael R. & Kintner, Hallie J., 2008. "Can breast feeding help you in later life? Evidence from German military heights in the early 20th century," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 420-430, December.
  11. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Borra, Cristina & Iacovou, Maria & Sevilla, Almudena, 2012. "The effect of breastfeeding on children's cognitive and noncognitive development," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 496-515.
  2. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China: New Evidence Using Heteroskedasticity Restrictions to Obtain Identification Without Exclusion Restrictions," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 33-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  3. George Wehby, 2014. "Breastfeeding and Child Disability: A Comparison of Siblings from the United States," NBER Working Papers 19940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "It Pays to Be Happy (If You are a Man): Subjective Wellbeing and the Gender Wage Gap in Urban China," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 51-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  5. Emla Fitzsimons & Marcos Vera-Hernandez, 2013. "Food for Thought? Breastfeeding and Child Development," IFS Working Papers W13/31, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Are More Senior Academics Really More Research Productive than Junior Academics? Evidence from Australian Law Schools," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 47-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  7. Emla Fitzsimons & Marcos Vera-Hernández, 2014. "Food for Thought? Breastfeeding and Child Development," DoQSS Working Papers 14-04, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  8. repec:ese:iserwp:2012-29 is not listed on IDEAS

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