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The impact of a wage increase on mental health: Evidence from the UK minimum wage

Author

Listed:
  • Kronenberg, C.
  • Jacobs, R.
  • Zucchelli, E.

Abstract

Previous studies on the relationship between income and mental health focus on lottery winners and find that positive income shocks may improve mental health. We focus on low-wage earners, who have a higher propensity of experiencing mental health problems, and exploit the policy experiment provided by the introduction of the 1999 UK minimum wage to identify the impact of a wage increase on mental health. Combining matching techniques with a series of difference-in-differences models we find that the minimum wage had only limited short-run effects on the mental health of those affected by the minimum wage. Our estimates do not appear to support earlier findings that indicate that monetary shocks improve an individual’s mental health. Several robustness checks controlling for measurement error and treatment and control group composition appear to confirm our main results. Our findings suggest that policies aimed at improving the mental health of low-wage earners should consider either the non-wage characteristics of employment or larger wage increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Kronenberg, C. & Jacobs, R. & Zucchelli, E., 2015. "The impact of a wage increase on mental health: Evidence from the UK minimum wage," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/08, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:15/08
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    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. 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.
    3. Berthelon, Matias & Kruger, Diana & Sánchez, Rafael, 2018. "Maternal Stress during Pregnancy and Early Childhood Development," IZA Discussion Papers 11452, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    minimum wage; mental health; policy evaluation; BHPS;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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