637/2022 Sonia Bhalotra, Adeline Delavande, Paulino Font-Gilabert, and Joanna Maselko
We investigate the importance of subjective expectations of returns to and effort costs of the two principal investments that mothers make in newborns : breastfeeding and stimulation. We find heterogeneity across mothers in expected effort costs and expected returns for outcomes in the cognitive, socio-emotional and health domains, and that this contributes to explaining heterogeneity in investments. We find no significant differences across women in preferences for child developmental outcomes. We simulate the impact of alternative policies on investments. Our findings highlight the relevance of interventions designed to address maternal depression and reduce perinatal fatigue alongside interventions that increase perceived returns to investments.
Revised August 2023