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Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health

Author

Listed:
  • Wehby, George

    () (University of Iowa, NBER)

  • Dave, Dhaval M.

    () (Bentley University)

  • Kaestner, Robert

    () (University of California, Riverside)

Abstract

The minimum wage has increased in multiple states over the past three decades. Research has focused on effects on labor supply, but very little is known about how the minimum wage affects health, including children's health. We address this knowledge gap and provide an investigation focused on examining the impact of the effective state minimum wage rate on infant health. Using data on the entire universe of births in the US over 25 years, we find that an increase in the minimum wage is associated with an increase in birth weight driven by increased gestational length and fetal growth rate. The effect size is meaningful and plausible. We also find evidence of an increase in prenatal care use and a decline in smoking during pregnancy, which are some channels through which minimum wage can affect infant health. Labor market policies that enhance wages can thus affect wellbeing in broader ways, and such health effects should enter into any cost-benefit calculus of such policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Wehby, George & Dave, Dhaval M. & Kaestner, Robert, 2016. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health," IZA Discussion Papers 10039, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10039
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    1. Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-07-20 17:24:08

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Markowitz, Sara & Komro, Kelli A. & Livingston, Melvin D. & Lenhart, Otto & Wagenaar, Alexander C., 2017. "Effects of state-level Earned Income Tax Credit laws in the U.S. on maternal health behaviors and infant health outcomes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 67-75.
    3. 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.
    4. Hope Corman & Dhaval M. Dave & Nancy E. Reichman, 2018. "Age Gradient in Female Crime: Welfare Reform as a Turning Point," NBER Working Papers 24464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Elena Andreyeva & Benjamin Ukert, 2018. "The impact of the minimum wage on health," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 337-375, December.
    6. Corman, Hope & Dave, Dhaval & Kalil, Ariel & Reichman, Nancy E., 2018. "Reprint of: Effects of maternal work incentives on youth crime," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 193-209.
    7. Hafner, Lucas, 2019. "Do minimum wages improve self-rated health? Evidence from a natural experiment," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 02/2019, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    minimum wage; health; infant; prenatal care; smoking; income; pregnant women;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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