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The Benefits of Breast Feeding across the Early Years of Childhood

  • Clive R. Belfield
  • Inas Rashad Kelly

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
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JHC/

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Chris Herbst & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "Child care subsidies and childhood obesity," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 349-378, September.
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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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