Improved estimates of the benefits of breastfeeding using sibling comparisons to reduce selection bias
AbstractObjective Better measurement of the health and cognitive benefits of breastfeeding by using sibling comparisons to reduce sample selection bias. Data We use data on the breastfeeding history, physical and emotional health, academic performance, cognitive ability, and demographic characteristics of 16,903 adolescents from the first (1994) wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The sample includes 2,734 sibling pairs. Study Design We examine the relationship between breastfeeding history and 15 indicators of physical health, emotional health, and cognitive ability, using ordinary least squares and logit regression. For each indicator, we estimate, in addition to the usual between-family model, a within-family model to see whether differences in siblings' outcomes are associated with differences in the siblings' breastfeeding histories. Principal Findings. Nearly all of the correlations found in the between-family model become statistically insignificant in the within-family model. The notable exception is a persistent positive correlation between breastfeeding and cognitive ability. These findings hold whether breastfeeding is measured in terms of duration or as a Yes/No variable. Conclusions This study provides persuasive evidence of a causal connection between breastfeeding and intelligence. However, it also suggests that nonexperimental studies of breastfeeding overstate some of its other long-term benefits, even if controls are included for race, ethnicity, income, and education. The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 13434.
Date of creation: Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Health Services Research 6.40(2005): pp. 1781-1802
Breast feeding; siblings; adolescents; intelligence; obesity; BMI; selection bias; breastfeeding; academic performance; allergy; PVT; Add Health; National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health; bonding; overweight; diabetes; IQ; asthma; depression; human capital; parental investment; school failure;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
- D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002.
"Maternal employment and overweight children,"
Working Paper Series
WP-02-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- Griliches, Zvi, 1979. "Sibling Models and Data in Economics: Beginnings of a Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S37-64, October.
- Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1994. "Endowments and the Allocation of Schooling in the Family and in the Marriage Market: The Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1131-74, December.
- Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
- Borra, Cristina & Iacovou, Maria & Sevilla, Almudena, 2012.
"The effect of breastfeeding on children's cognitive and noncognitive development,"
Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 496-515.
- Borra, Cristina & Iacovou, Maria & Sevilla, Almudena, 2012. "The Effect of Breastfeeding on Children's Cognitive and Noncognitive Development," IZA Discussion Papers 6697, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Orla Doyle & Kevin Denny, 2010.
"The causal effect of breastfeeding on children's cognitive development: A quasi-experimental design,"
201020, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
- Kevin Denny & Orla Doyle, 2010. "The causal effect of breastfeeding on children’s cognitive development: A quasi-experimental design," Working Papers 201005, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
- Del Bono, Emilia & Rabe, Birgitta, 2012. "Breastfeeding and child cognitive outcomes: evidence from a hospital-based breastfeeding support policy," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-29, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.