Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health

42 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 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)

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Date Written: June 2016

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

Wehby, George and Dave, Dhaval and Kaestner, Robert, Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health (June 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22373, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2800882

George Wehby (Contact Author)

University of Iowa ( email )

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Robert Kaestner

University of Chicago ( email )

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