Research Seminar: ‘Young Children’s Wellbeing in Comparative Perspective’, 15 January 2015

LLAKES Research Seminar: ‘Young Children’s Wellbeing in Comparative Perspective: A multi-country case study of breast-feeding and leave policies

Professor Lucinda Platt, London School of Economics

3.00 to 4.30 pm, Thursday 15 January 2015, Room 709a, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

There are large cross-national differences in early child wellbeing according to international OECD and Unicef reports. But there is still much we do not understand about the reasons for these differences and the role of national institutional factors in contributing to them. Moreover, without harmonised cross-national studies covering relevant topics, there are substantial challenges in identifying institutional or broader “cultural” factors.  In this paper we take a multi-country case study approach focusing on the individual and institutional/cultural factors implicated in country differences in breast-feeding, using comparisons across five national infant cohort studies. Breast-feeding is a pertinent example as it is implicated in a wide range of infant and child outcomes and it shows substantial variation across the five countries under study. Using post-hoc harmonisation, we first explore existing evidence on the key individual-level risk/promotive factors for breast-feeding and that on the role of leave policies in influencing breast-feeding initiation / continuation. We then explore differences across countries in the risk/promotive factors and in their association with breast-feeding, and draw inferences about the role of institutional differences. We discuss the implications of our findings and possible extensions of the approach.

Lucinda Platt is Professor of Social Policy and Sociology in the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on ethnicity, immigration, poverty and child wellbeing, broadly defined. A quantitative sociologist, she was formerly Director of the Millennium Cohort Study and remains a co-investigator with responsibility for the ethnicity strand on Understanding Society: The UK Household Longitudinal Study.

The seminar is free to attend, but prior registration would be helpful: to register, please contact


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