How Does the Minimum Wage Affect Child Maltreatment and Parenting Behaviors? An Analysis of the Mechanisms

42 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2020

See all articles by Lindsey Bullinger

Lindsey Bullinger

Georgia Institute of Technology

Kerri Raissian

University of Connecticut

William Schneider

University of Illinois

Date Written: August 17, 2020

Abstract

Children in low socioeconomic status (SES) families are five times more likely to experience child maltreatment relative to children in high SES families. To determine whether increasing the wages of working poor families can prevent maltreatment, we examine whether changes in the local minimum wage (MW) affect child well-being and parenting behaviors. Using data from a representative, longitudinal survey, we use a lagged dependent variable model to compare parenting behaviors in localities where the MW changed to localities where the MW did not change relative to before the MW change took place. We also explore heterogeneity by child’s age and a variety of potential mechanisms. We find that increasing the minimum wage reduces spanking by both mothers and fathers, as well as physical and psychological aggression by mothers. These results appear to be driven by changes in maternal employment; whereby mothers reduce their employment and change their weekend shifts. We find no significant effects for positive parenting behaviors, household income, or maternal mental health. Finally, older children exhibit fewer externalizing behaviors as a result of increases in the minimum wage. The results of this study help inform the conversation about income supports and employment policies with regard to their effects and pathways to child well-being.

Keywords: child well-being, child abuse and neglect, minimum wage, income-supports

JEL Classification: I31, J13, I14, I18

Suggested Citation

Bullinger, Lindsey and Raissian, Kerri and Schneider, William, How Does the Minimum Wage Affect Child Maltreatment and Parenting Behaviors? An Analysis of the Mechanisms (August 17, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3686088 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3686088

Lindsey Bullinger (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

685 Cherry St.
Atlanta, GA 30332-0345
United States

Kerri Raissian

University of Connecticut ( email )

10 Prospect St,
HTB, 4th Floor
Hartford, CT 06103
United States

William Schneider

University of Illinois ( email )

1010 West Nevada Street
Urbana, IL 61820
United States
(217) 300-8278 (Phone)

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