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Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health

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  • George Wehby
  • Dhaval Dave
  • Robert Kaestner

Abstract

The minimum wage has increased in multiple states over the past three decades. We examine the impact of the state minimum wage on infant health. Using data on the universe of births in the US over 24 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 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.

Suggested Citation

  • George Wehby & Dhaval Dave & Robert Kaestner, 2016. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 22373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22373
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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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    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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Jiwei Chen, 2021. "Do minimum wage increases benefit worker health? Evidence from China," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 473-499, June.
    5. Lenhart, Otto, 2021. "The effects of minimum wages on teenage birth rates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 198(C).
    6. 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.
    7. Nicholas A. Ashford & Ralph P. Hall & Johan Arango-Quiroga & Kyriakos A. Metaxas & Amy L. Showalter, 2020. "Addressing Inequality: The First Step Beyond COVID-19 and Towards Sustainability," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(13), pages 1-43, July.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Regmi, Krishna, 2020. "The effect of the minimum wage on children’s cognitive achievement," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    11. 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.
    12. Tamás Hajdu & Gábor Hajdu, 2020. "Temperature, climate change and birth weight: Evidence from Hungary," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 2032, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    13. 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.
    14. Monica Harber Carney, 2021. "The impact of mental health parity laws on birth outcomes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(4), pages 748-765, April.

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    More about this item

    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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