Event Title

The Effect of Living-Cost Adjusted Minimum Wage on Low Birth Weights: A County-Level Analysis

Presenter Information

Louisa Liles, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 241

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2018 12:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 1:20 PM

Abstract

I investigate the relationship between the minimum wage and the share of low birth weights at the county level. Even if the minimum wage reduces employment and hours worked, it may introduce other benefits, and a welfare analysis that focuses only on these two factors is incomplete. My research contributes to the growing body of literature addressing the public health effects of the minimum wage; low birth weights are particularly important public health issue because people with low birth weights have lower educational attainment, earnings and self-reported physical health as adults. To conduct this study, I create a novel dataset by tabulating local, state, and federal minimum wages and deflating them by a measure of local living costs. Then I use a difference-in-difference framework to test whether changes in the minimum wage have a casual effect on the share of low birth weights, ultimately finding no effect. I do, however, find evidence that hikes in the minimum wage tend to happen at the same time as increases in per capita public health spending, suggesting a possible mechanism and indicating that the minimum wage may not be exogenous to public health outcomes.

Keywords:

minimum wage, living costs, housing costs, public health, low birth weights, prenatal health

Notes

Session II, Panel 4 - Health | Economies
Moderator: Jan Cooper, John C. Reid Associate Professor of Rhetoric & Composition and English

Major

Economics; Mathematics

Advisor(s)

Ron Cheung, Economics
James Walsh, Mathematics

Project Mentor(s)

Ron Cheung, Economics

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Apr 27th, 12:00 PM Apr 27th, 1:20 PM

The Effect of Living-Cost Adjusted Minimum Wage on Low Birth Weights: A County-Level Analysis

King Building 241

I investigate the relationship between the minimum wage and the share of low birth weights at the county level. Even if the minimum wage reduces employment and hours worked, it may introduce other benefits, and a welfare analysis that focuses only on these two factors is incomplete. My research contributes to the growing body of literature addressing the public health effects of the minimum wage; low birth weights are particularly important public health issue because people with low birth weights have lower educational attainment, earnings and self-reported physical health as adults. To conduct this study, I create a novel dataset by tabulating local, state, and federal minimum wages and deflating them by a measure of local living costs. Then I use a difference-in-difference framework to test whether changes in the minimum wage have a casual effect on the share of low birth weights, ultimately finding no effect. I do, however, find evidence that hikes in the minimum wage tend to happen at the same time as increases in per capita public health spending, suggesting a possible mechanism and indicating that the minimum wage may not be exogenous to public health outcomes.