Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health
42 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2016 Last revised: 20 Aug 2021
Date Written: June 2016
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.
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