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Welfare Work Requirements and Child Well-Being: Evidence From the Effects on Breastfeeding).

May 2003

Steven J. Haider, Department of Economics, Michigan State University. Alison Jacknowitz, RAND Graduate School. Robert F. Schoeni, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan.

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A central theme of welfare reform is recipients are required to engage in work activities. In many states these work requirements apply to mothers whose children are a few months old, potentially increasing the costs and decreasing the prevalence of breastfeeding. Given the substantial benefits of breastfeeding, any reduction represents an important negative consequence of these requirements. Our results suggest that, in the absence of welfare reform, the national breastfeeding rate six months after birth would have been 5.5% higher in 2000. Such negative consequences of these policies must be weighed against potential benefits as states refine their welfare programs.

Child Well-being and Child Development, Health, Health Insurance, and Health Care, Welfare Reform and the Administration of Welfare Programs