Welfare Work Requirements and Individual Well-being

Evidence from the Effects on Breastfeeding

by Steven Haider, Alison Jacknowitz, Robert F. Schoeni

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.4 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

The central theme of welfare reform is the requirement that welfare recipients engage in work activities. In many states this requirement applies even to mothers whose children are just a few months old. Holding a job increases the costs of breastfeeding, which in turn could reduce the propensity of new mothers to breastfeed their children. The authors examine whether the work requirements adopted as part of welfare reform have reduced the prevalence of breastfeeding. Given the substantial short- and long-term benefits that breastfeeding imparts on children and mothers, any reduction in breastfeeding would represent an important negative consequence of these work requirements. The authors find that if welfare reform had not been adopted, national breastfeeding rates six months after birth would have been 5.6 percent higher than they are today.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Draft series. The unrestricted draft was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003 that represented preliminary or prepublication versions of other more formal RAND products for distribution to appropriate external audiences. The draft could be considered similar to an academic discussion paper. Although unrestricted drafts had been approved for circulation, they were not usually formally edited or peer reviewed.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.