Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health
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.
The authors are grateful to Wei Lyu and Timothy Roeper for valuable research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
George L. Wehby & Dhaval M. Dave & Robert Kaestner, 2020. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol 39(2), pages 411-443. citation courtesy of