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The Effect of Breastfeeding on Children's Cognitive and Noncognitive Development

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Author Info

  • Borra, Cristina

    ()
    (University of Seville)

  • Iacovou, Maria

    ()
    (University of Essex)

  • Sevilla, Almudena

    ()
    (Queen Mary, University of London)

Abstract

This paper uses propensity score matching methods to investigate the relationship between breastfeeding and children's cognitive and noncognitive development. We find that breastfeeding for four weeks is positively and statistically significantly associated with higher cognitive test scores, by around one tenth of a standard deviation. The association between breastfeeding and noncognitive development is weaker, and is restricted to children of less educated mothers. We conclude that interventions which increase breastfeeding rates would improve not only children's health, but also their cognitive skills, and possibly also their noncognitive development.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp6697.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6697.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6697

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Keywords: breastfeeding;

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References

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  1. Baker, Michael & Milligan, Kevin, 2008. "Maternal employment, breastfeeding, and health: Evidence from maternity leave mandates," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 871-887, July.
  2. Tommaso Nannicini, 2007. "Simulation-based sensitivity analysis for matching estimators," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(3), pages 334-350, September.
  3. David Johnston & Propper, Carol & Pudney, Stephen & Shields, Michael, 2011. "Child mental health and educational attainment: multiple observers and the measurement error problem," ISER Working Paper Series 2011-20, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  4. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  5. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
  6. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2007. "The Evolution of Inequality, Heterogeneity and Uncertainty in Labor Earnings in the U.S. Economy," NBER Working Papers 13526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Clive R. Belfield & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2010. "The Benefits of Breastfeeding Across the Early Years of Childhood," NBER Working Papers 16496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. James J. Heckman, 1989. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods for Estimating the Impact of Social Programs: The Case of Manpower Training," NBER Working Papers 2861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Andrea Ichino & Fabrizia Mealli & Tommaso Nannicini, 2008. "From temporary help jobs to permanent employment: what can we learn from matching estimators and their sensitivity?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 305-327.
  10. Guido Imbens & Jeffrey Wooldridge, 2008. "Recent developments in the econometrics of program evaluation," CeMMAP working papers CWP24/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Propensity Score Matching Methods for Non-experimental Causal Studies," NBER Working Papers 6829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Flavio Cunha & James J. HECKMAN, 2009. "Investing in our Young People," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 117(3), pages 387-418.
  14. Leon Feinstein, 2003. "Inequality in the Early Cognitive Development of British Children in the 1970 Cohort," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 73-97, February.
  15. 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.
  16. Orla Doyle & Kevin Denny, 2010. "The causal effect of breastfeeding on children's cognitive development: A quasi-experimental design," Working Papers 201020, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  17. McCrory, Cathal & Layte, Richard, 2011. "The effect of breastfeeding on children's educational test scores at nine years of age: Results of an Irish cohort study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(9), pages 1515-1521, May.
  18. Zhao, Zhong, 2005. "Sensitivity of Propensity Score Methods to the Specifications," IZA Discussion Papers 1873, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. 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.
  20. Reilly, Siobhan & Evenhouse, Eirik, 2005. "Improved estimates of the benefits of breastfeeding using sibling comparisons to reduce selection bias," MPRA Paper 13434, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. Paul Gregg & Elizabeth Washbrook & Carol Propper & Simon Burgess, 2005. "The Effects of a Mother's Return to Work Decision on Child Development in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages F48-F80, 02.
  22. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  23. Michela Bia & Alessandra Mattei, 2008. "A Stata package for the estimation of the dose–response function through adjustment for the generalized propensity score," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(3), pages 354-373, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Kobayashi, Miki & Usui, Emiko, 2014. "Breastfeeding Practices and Parental Employment in Japan," IZA Discussion Papers 8116, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Kitty Stewart, 2013. "Labour's Record on the Under Fives: Policy, Spending and Outcomes 1997 - 2010," CASE - Social Policy in a Cold Climate Working Paper 04, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  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. Kitty Stewart, 2013. "Labour’s Record on the Under Fives: Policy, Spending and Outcomes 1997-2010," CASE Papers /176, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.

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