Why do mothers breastfeed girls less than boys? Evidence and implications for child health in India

TitleWhy do mothers breastfeed girls less than boys? Evidence and implications for child health in India
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsJayachandran S, Kuziemko I
JournalQuarterly journal of economics
Volume126
Issue3
Pagination - 1538
Date PublishedAug 2011
ISBN Number0033-5533, 0033-5533
KeywordsBoys, Breast-feeding, Child health, Economic theory, Fertility, Gender differentiation, Girls, Hygiene, India, Mothers, Parent-child relations, Parenthood, Social dynamics, Sociology
AbstractBreastfeeding is negatively correlated with future fertility because nursing temporarily reduces fecundity and because mothers usually wean on becoming pregnant again. We model breastfeeding under son-biased fertility preferences and show that breastfeeding duration increases with birth order, especially near target family size; is lowest for daughters and children without older brothers because their parents try again for a son; and exhibits the largest gender gap near target family size, when gender is most predictive of subsequent fertility. Data from India confirm each prediction. Moreover, child survival exhibits similar patterns, especially in settings where the alternatives to breastmilk are unsanitary. Reprinted by permission of the MIT Press
URLhttps://search.proquest.com/docview/911909418?accountid=13314