Work and Breastfeeding Decisions are Jointly Determined for Higher Socioeconomic Status US Mothers

Review of Economics of the Households, 2012

Posted: 23 Jan 2016

See all articles by Bidisha Mandal

Bidisha Mandal

Washington State University - School of Economic Sciences

Brian E. Roe

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics

Sara Fein

Independent

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

We study postpartum decisions about paid work and breastfeeding using a simultaneous equations model. For our sample of higher socioeconomic status mothers, we find a joint decision process for three sets of decisions modeled: work leave duration and duration of any, as well as of exclusive, breastfeeding, and daily work hours and daily breastfeedings at infant age 3 months. We find that returning to paid work 1 week earlier reduces any breastfeeding duration by about two-thirds of a week while extending breastfeeding by a week delays work participation by about one-third of a week. We find larger elasticities for decisions involving daily work hours and number of breastfeedings at 3 months than for work leave duration and any breastfeeding duration and the smallest elasticities for duration of exclusive breastfeeding and work leave. This marks the first study to find a joint decisionmaking process for postpartum work and breastfeeding decisions and suggests that, in addition to increased leave impacting breastfeeding behaviors, successful breastfeeding promotion policies can have nontrivial impacts on the US labor market.

Suggested Citation

Mandal, Bidisha and Roe, Brian E. and Fein, Sara, Work and Breastfeeding Decisions are Jointly Determined for Higher Socioeconomic Status US Mothers (2012). Review of Economics of the Households, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2719809

Bidisha Mandal (Contact Author)

Washington State University - School of Economic Sciences ( email )

Pullman, WA 99164
United States

Brian E. Roe

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics ( email )

2120 Fyffe Rd
Columbus, OH 43210-1067
United States
614-688-5777 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://aede.osu.edu/our-people/brian-e-roe

Sara Fein

Independent ( email )

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