Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health

49 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2016

See all articles by George Wehby

George Wehby

University of Iowa

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

Robert Kaestner

University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

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 costā€benefit calculus of such policies.

Keywords: minimum wage, health, infant, prenatal care, smoking, income, pregnant women

JEL Classification: I1, I3, J2, J3

Suggested Citation

Wehby, George and Dave, Dhaval and Dave, Dhaval and Kaestner, Robert and Kaestner, Robert, Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2810450 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2810450

George Wehby (Contact Author)

University of Iowa ( email )

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452-4705
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

Robert Kaestner

University of Chicago ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

5 Hanover Square 16th floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
19
Abstract Views
377
PlumX Metrics