Date of Graduation

Spring 5-20-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in International and Development Economics (MSIDEC)


College of Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Jesse Anttila-Hughes


Abstract: Several key studies highlight the importance of breastfeeding and there is a broad consensus that it plays a crucial role for a child's health and cognitive development. This is especially true for the poor in developing countries, where vulnerable infants' access to proper nutrition is vital. We investigate the effect of introducing infant formula into a market on changes in breastfeeding patterns. Using the Demographic Health Surveys and annual reports from the baby food industry between 1981 and 2002 in 11 tropical countries, we find evidence that import of infant formula significantly reduces breastfeeding duration. The effects are stronger in areas where breastfeeding rates generally are higher, that is, in rural areas, among women with low education and among women that do not work full time.