NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Julie A. Reeder

Oregon WIC Program
800 NE Oregon Street
Suite 865
Portland, OR 97232-2187

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Institutional Affiliation: Oregon WIC Program

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2015Effects of Peer Counseling to Support Breastfeeding: Assessing the External Validity of a Randomized Field Experiment
with Onur Altindag, Theodore J. Joyce: w21013
In an effort to improve breastfeeding, the Oregon WIC Program tested whether a relatively low-cost telephone peer counseling initiative to support breastfeeding could increase the initiation and duration of exclusive breastfeeding among its participants. They conducted a large randomized field experiment (RFE) with over 1900 women from four WIC agencies in the state. In this study we use data from the RFE along with administrative data from the rest of the state to assess whether the results from the RFE can be extended to other agencies in the state. We find small or non-existent effects of peer counseling in the non-experimental settings, which suggest that the experimental estimates may reflect Hawthorne effects. We present evidence of selection into RFE in that exclusive breastfeedi...
 
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