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Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Center for Economics of Breastfeeding

LRF Center for Economics of Breastfeeding

Baby girl walking.

About Us

The LRF Center for Economics of Breastfeeding focuses on the economics of child and youth development with a focus on breastfeeding. The research from the center offers policy-makers and public health organizations empirical evidence for designing policies and programs to improve child and youth development.

The researchers at the center design and conduct empirical research on the social and economic determinants of child and youth development by leveraging empirical analyses based on existing data, leveraging existing policy changes and other quasi-experimental settings, to provide causal evidence. In the future, we are planning also to collect our own data and to answer our research questions based on randomized control trials.

Research Focus

The Center is dedicated to high-quality research that will ultimately improve the lives of children and young adults. In particular, an important focus of the Center is to improve our knowledge of the causes and consequences of breastfeeding.

Early childhood conditions have long-lasting consequences for later life economic and social wellbeing. Breastfeeding might be one key ingredient in the intergenerational transmission of human capital and thereby economic inequality, as we see a strong socio-economic gradient in breastfeeding rates across developed countries with more economically advantaged mothers being more likely to breastfeed. A major public health focus – resting on correlational evidence– concerns how to improve breastfeeding rates globally. Yet, causal evidence of the effects of breastfeeding is still in its infancy: What are the consequences of breastfeeding on children’s health, cognitive, emotional, and social development? How does breastfeeding promotion affect the child’s family environment? Why do not all mothers breastfeed? What could be done to improve breastfeeding rates?

Other important questions that we focus on in the Center concern how the childhood family and school environment affect human capital development, such as educational attainment, choice of field of study and occupation, economic preferences, and earnings.

Our Research

What is the Causal Effect of Breastfeeding on Child Development? An Economic Evaluation of the PROBIT Study (draft coming soon)

Until now, the largest and most famous randomized control trial regarding breastfeeding was done in the mid 1990ies in Belarus. It is called the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT). Anne Brenøe, Richard Martin, and Jenna Stearns re-analyze this dataset with state-of-the-art econometric methods to improve our understanding of how breastfeeding affects child development causally.

The BEBE Cohort Study (funding obtained from SNF)

In the BEBE cohort study, the Center partners with the Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital. We will recruit approximately 7,000 women during their late pregnancy and follow them with regular surveys until, at the very least, the newborn’s first birthday. In this setup, we aim to analyze the determinants of infant feeding choices and its consequences for child and maternal well-being.

Weiterführende Informationen


Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Statistical Genetics

Join our team and seize this unique inter-disciplinary Post-Doc opportunity (Oxford-Zurich collaboration).

Apply now

Prof. Brenøe at 2021 ISRHML Congress

Prof. Anne Brenøe delivered a keynote on “Causal Effects of Breastfeeding on Child Development: An Economist’s View” at the 2021 Biennial Congress of the International Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation.

Download slides

Kids playing and learning

The mission of the LRF Center for Economics of Breastfeeding is to increase our understanding of productive child and youth development. In particular, an important focus is to improve our knowledge of the causes and consequences of breastfeeding.

People at the center

The center is home to a number of affiliated researchers. They all focus on research projects within the scope of the center’s mission: conduct high-quality research that will ultimately improve the lives of children and young adults.


University of Zurich
LRF Center for Economics of Breastfeeding
Department of Economics
Schönberggasse 1, Room SOF-H14
8001 Zurich

Phone: +41 44 634 61 53

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Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation

The endowed professorship and associated research fund will be financed by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation.