Paid Family Leave and Breastfeeding: Evidence from California

47 Pages Posted: 2 May 2019 Last revised: 14 Jun 2021

See all articles by Jessica Pac

Jessica Pac

Columbia University

Ann P. Bartel

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Christopher J. Ruhm

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jane Waldfogel

Columbia University - School of Social Work

Date Written: April 2019

Abstract

This paper evaluates the effect of Paid Family Leave (PFL) on breastfeeding, which we identify using California’s enactment of a 2004 PFL policy that ensured mothers up to six weeks of leave at a 55 percent wage replacement rate. We employ synthetic control models for a large, representative sample of over 270,000 children born between 2000 and 2012 drawn from the restricted-use versions of the 2003 – 2014 National Immunization Surveys. Our estimates indicate that PFL increases the overall duration of breastfeeding by nearly 18 days, and the likelihood of breastfeeding for at least six months by 5 percentage points. We find substantially larger effects of PFL on breastfeeding duration for some disadvantaged mothers.

Suggested Citation

Pac, Jessica and Bartel, Ann P. and Ruhm, Christopher J. and Waldfogel, Jane, Paid Family Leave and Breastfeeding: Evidence from California (April 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25784, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3380811

Jessica Pac (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Ann P. Bartel

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Christopher J. Ruhm

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://batten.virginia.edu/cruhm.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Jane Waldfogel

Columbia University - School of Social Work ( email )

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New York, NY 10025
United States

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