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Money matters: Does the minimum wage affect child maltreatment rates?

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  • Raissian, Kerri M.
  • Bullinger, Lindsey Rose

Abstract

Research has consistently demonstrated that children living in low-income families, particularly those in poverty, are at a greater risk of child maltreatment; however, causal evidence for this relationship is sparse. We use child maltreatment reports from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System: Child File from 2004 to 2013 to investigate the relationship between changes in a state's minimum wage and changes in child maltreatment rates. We find that increases in the minimum wage lead to a decline in overall child maltreatment reports, particularly neglect reports. Specifically, a $1 increase in the minimum wage implies a statistically significant 9.6% decline in neglect reports. This decline is concentrated among young children (ages 0–5) and school-aged children (ages 6–12); the effect diminishes among adolescents and is not significant. We do not find that the effect of increases in the minimum wage varies based on the child's race. These findings are robust to a number of specifications. Our results suggest that policies that increase incomes of the working poor can improve children's welfare, especially younger children, quite substantially.

Suggested Citation

  • Raissian, Kerri M. & Bullinger, Lindsey Rose, 2017. "Money matters: Does the minimum wage affect child maltreatment rates?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 60-70.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:72:y:2017:i:c:p:60-70
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.09.033
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    8. Feely, Megan & Seay, Kristen D. & Loomis, Alysse M., 2019. "Harsh physical punishment as a mediator between income, re-reports and out-of-home placement in a child protective services-involved population," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 70-78.
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    10. Malte Sandner & Stephan L. Thomsen & Libertad González Luna, 2020. "Preventing child maltreatment: Beneficial side effects of public childcare provision," Economics Working Papers 1744, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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