The Effects of Workplace Breastfeeding Benefits on Women's Feeding and Labor Market Outcomes
Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 11:15 AM
Merrick II (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
This paper investigates the causal impact of providing unpaid break time and a special space for nursing employees to express milk at the workplace on women's feeding and labor market outcomes. I exploit plausibly exogenous variation in timing of state mandates on workplace lactation support, using the National Immunization Survey and the Current Population Survey data. I find that the workplace benefits increase the amount of breastfeeding: the percentage of mothers who ever breastfeed increased by 0.8 percentage point, and the duration of breastfeeding increased by 5.5%. With the benefits, infant mothers work for longer hours per day (3.3% longer) and receive higher hourly wages (3.8% higher). For a more productive mother, the working hours increase less, and the hourly wage increases more, than that for a less productive one. The results are consistent with a Pissarides (2001) search model extended to include firms' provision of workplace breastfeeding benefits, which increases firms' cost of hiring but reduces workers' disutility of breastfeeding under employment.