The Effects of Workplace Breastfeeding-Friendly Policies on Children’s Feeding Outcomes in the United States

Siying Liu, University of Pittsburgh

This paper investigates the causal impact of providing unpaid break time and a special space for nursing employees to express breastmilk at the workplace on women's feeding and labor market outcomes. I exploit plausibly exogenous variation in timing of state mandates on workplace lactation support, using the National Immunization Survey and the Current Population Survey data. I find that the workplace benefits increase the amount of breastfeeding: the percentage of mothers who ever breastfeed increased by 0.8 percentage point, and the duration of breastfeeding increased by 5.5%. With the benefits, infant mothers work for longer hours per day (3.3% longer) and receive higher hourly wages (3.8% higher). The results are consistent with a standard search model as in Pissarides (2000) extended to include firms' provision of workplace breastfeeding benefits, which increases firms' cost of hiring but reduces workers' disutility of breastfeeding under employment.

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Presented in Session 108: Work-Place Practices and Policies