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

46 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2012

See all articles by Cristina Borra

Cristina Borra

University of Seville

Maria Iacovou

University of Essex

Almudena Sevilla Sanz

University of Oxford

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.

Keywords: breastfeeding

JEL Classification: I10, J0

Suggested Citation

Borra, Cristina and Iacovou, Maria and Sevilla Sanz, Almudena, The Effect of Breastfeeding on Children's Cognitive and Noncognitive Development. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6697, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2101984

Cristina Borra (Contact Author)

University of Seville ( email )

Avda. del Cid s/n
E-41092 Sevilla, Sevilla 41004
Spain

Maria Iacovou

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Institute for Social and Economic Research
Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Almudena Sevilla Sanz

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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