11, Porte des Sciences
LISER Salle Sud, MSH 5th floor
Public policies do not operate in a social vacuum and for that reason their effect may be hampered or magnified according to how they seat compared to people’s norms and beliefs. We examine this possibility in the case of breastfeeding behavior in the United Kingdom. We analyze the effect of the Baby-Friendly initiative, a UNICEF and WHO sponsored program aiming at promoting early initiation as well as prolonged exclusive breastfeeding, on the behavior of first and second generation migrant women in the UK. We establish that breastfeeding exhibits substantial cultural persistence and that the effect of the policy is affected by the cultural background of mothers. In particular, the policy is more effective at promoting breastfeeding initiation among low breastfeeding norm mothers, while it is more effective in promoting exclusive breastfeeding in high breastfeeding norm women.