This is an interesting topic: the behavior of mother breastfeed and children health. Yes, it is the topic of a seminar I audited yesterday.
As usual, here is the related information:
Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India [click here to download PDF] Seema Jayachandran (Stanford University) UPF Labor, Public, and Development Seminar
Well, although I'm a kind of being addicted to theoretical works, this kind of empirical is still attractive. She analyzed the development of children health with respect to mothor's breastfeed behaviors. As she said, it is like "quality instead of quantity", and mothers are paying more and more attention to ensure the health of their children.
Fortunately, one guy who lives nextdoor to me has been worked in the field of public health for the last year, and he has lived in India for several years, thus before the seminar he told me many things about the real situation in India. In this way, far beyond listening to the seminar itself, I have learned more about public health, or health economics which is really hot now.
The forever pain for an econometric or empirical analysis is the accuracy of data. She was using NFHS (National Family Health Survey) and DHS (Demographic and Health Survey) data. However, my nextdoor told me that there were some problems in the questionnaire used, which will influence the reliability of the data, or the answer from those women. He doubted whether it would have potential influence on the regression analysis.
It was also interesting to hear that so many audience there had different kinds of interesting questions. That is partically why I love economics seminars. But still the question for me is that I am still not able to follow all of the presentation. Apparently I need to store more knowledge.
By the way, I also listened to another seminar this week, it is
Misspecification in Models for Trends and Cycles Andrew Harvey (University of Cambridge) UPF Occasional Econometric Seminar
Well, it was a theoretical work, but it was theoretical economics, and I have no idea with that. Unfortunately, I went there early and sat down in the second row of the classroom. Therefore, I had to pretend that I was focusing on what he talked about, but in fact I could not understand anything except HP filter. Oh my poor econometrics, and my poor time series analysis. It also proves that I need to learn more to completely understand the top seminars. Carry on!
At last, I'd like to copy some conclusions from Semma's paper here.
- the duration of breastfeeding negatively correlates with the mother's likelihood of a subsequent birth.
- breastfeeding increases with birth order; if parents have a preference for sons, then boys are breastfed more than girls; children with older brothers are breastfed more; these gender eects are smallest for high and low values of birth order
- breastfeeding the current child helps prevent or delay a subsequent pregnancy, and a subsequent (perhaps unwanted) pregnancy often causes mothers to wean the current child.
- If contraception crowds out breastfeeding, then policy makers might consider pairing contraceptive campaigns with promotion of breastfeeding or improvements in water quality. Conversely, if contraception enables a mother to breastfeed her children longer because she can space them further apart, then policies that expand access to contraception might have an added benet of encouraging breastfeeding.