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Do Minimum Wage Increases Influence Worker Health?

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  • Brady P. Horn
  • Johanna Catherine Maclean
  • Michael R. Strain

Abstract

While the employment effects of minimum wage increases have been heavily studied, the impact of minimum wage increases on non-labor market outcomes has received less attention. This study is the first to investigate whether minimum wage increases in the U.S. affect an important non-market outcome: worker health. Economic models of the demand for health suggest a link between minimum wage increases and worker health, but the direction and magnitude of the impact is ultimately an empirical question. To study this question, we use data on lesser-skilled workers from the 1993-2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Surveys coupled with differences-in-differences and triple-difference models. We find little evidence that minimum wage increases lead to improvements in overall worker health. In fact, we find some evidence that minimum wage increases may decrease some aspects of health, especially among unemployed male workers. We also find some evidence that increases reduce mental strain among employed workers.
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  • Brady P. Horn & Johanna Catherine Maclean & Michael R. Strain, 2017. "Do Minimum Wage Increases Influence Worker Health?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1986-2007, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1986-2007
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    1. Vit Hradil, 2018. "Does Minimum Wage Affect Workplace Safety?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp615, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    2. Averett, Susan L. & Smith, Julie K. & Wang, Yang, 2019. "Minimum Wages and the Health and Access to Care of Immigrants' Children," IZA Discussion Papers 12606, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Pohl, R. Vincent & Clark, Kathryn L. & Thomas, Ryan C., 2017. "Minimum Wages and Healthy Diet," MPRA Paper 87239, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Susan L. Averett & Julie K. Smith & Yang Wang, 2018. "Minimum Wages and the Health of Hispanic Women," Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 217-239, December.
    5. Susan L. Averett & Julie K. Smith & Yang Wang, 2017. "The effects of minimum wages on the health of working teenagers," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(16), pages 1127-1130, September.
    6. Patel, Pankaj C., 2019. "Minimum wage and transition of non-employer firms intending to hire employees into employer firms: State-level evidence from the US," Journal of Business Venturing Insights, Elsevier, vol. 12(C).
    7. Lauren Hersch Nicholas & Johanna Catherine Maclean, 2019. "The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on the Health and Labor Supply of Older Adults: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 38(2), pages 455-480, March.
    8. George L. Wehby & Dhaval M. Dave & Robert Kaestner, 2020. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 39(2), pages 411-443, March.
    9. Masanori Kuroki, 2018. "Subjective well‐being and minimum wages: Evidence from U.S. states," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 171-180, February.
    10. Bachmann, Ronald & Bonin, Holger & Boockmann, Bernhard & Demir, Gökay & Felder, Rahel & Isphording, Ingo & Kalweit, René & Laub, Natalie & Vonnahme, Christina & Zimpelmann, Christian, 2020. "Auswirkungen des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns auf Löhne und Arbeitszeiten: Studie im Auftrag der Mindestlohnkommission," RWI Projektberichte, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, number 222998.
    11. Hafner, Lucas & Lochner, Benjamin, 2019. "Do minimum wages improve self-rated health? : Evidence from a natural experiment," IAB Discussion Paper 201917, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
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    16. Michael F. Pesko & Charles J. Courtemanche & Johanna Catherine Maclean, 2020. "The effects of traditional cigarette and e-cigarette tax rates on adult tobacco product use," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 60(3), pages 229-258, June.
    17. Popovici, Ioana & Maclean, J. Catherine & French, Michael, 2017. "The Effects of Health Insurance Parity Laws for Substance Use Disorder Treatment on Traffic Fatalities: Evidence of Unintended Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 10746, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Vinish Shrestha, 2019. "Maternal Education and Infant Health Gradient: New Answers to Old Questions," Working Papers 2019-03, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised May 2020.
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    21. Bachmann, Ronald & Bonin, Holger & Boockmann, Bernhard & Demir, Gökay & Felder, Rahel & Isphording, Ingo E. & Kalweit, René & Laub, Natalie & Vonnahme, Christina & Zimpelmann, Christian, 2020. "Auswirkungen des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns auf Löhne und Arbeitszeiten," IZA Research Reports 96, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    22. William H. Dow & Anna Godøy & Christopher A. Lowenstein & Michael Reich, 2019. "Can Economic Policies Reduce Deaths of Despair?," NBER Working Papers 25787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Ioana Popovici & Johanna Catherine Maclean & Michael T. French, 2017. "Health Insurance and Traffic Fatalities: The Effects of Substance Use Disorder Parity Laws," NBER Working Papers 23388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Regmi, Krishna, 2020. "The effect of the minimum wage on children’s cognitive achievement," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    25. Johanna Catherine Maclean & John Buckell & Joachim Marti, 2019. "Information Source and Cigarettes: Experimental Evidence on the Messenger Effect," NBER Working Papers 25632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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