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Minimum Wages and the Health of Hispanic Women

Susan L. Averett (), Julie Smith and Yang Wang ()
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Susan L. Averett: Lafayette College
Yang Wang: University of Wisconsin—Madison

Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy, 2018, vol. 1, issue 4, 217-239

Abstract: Abstract States are increasingly resorting to raising the minimum wage to boost the earnings of those at the bottom of the income distribution. Several policymakers have also claimed such increases may be health improving. In this paper, we examine the effects of minimum wage increases on the health of low-educated Hispanic women, who constitute a growing part of the US labor force, are disproportionately represented in minimum wage jobs, and typically have less access to health care. Using a difference-in-differences identification strategy and data drawn from the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey and the Current Population Survey from the years 1994 to 2015, we find little evidence that low-educated Hispanic women likely affected by minimum wage increases experience any changes in health status, access to care, or use of preventive care. We conclude that efforts to improve the health of low-educated Hispanic women are not likely to occur through increases in the minimum wage.

Keywords: Minimum wage; Hispanic women; Health outcomes; Health insurance; Preventive care; J15; I12; I13; I14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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