The impact of the minimum wage on health

  • Elena Andreyeva
  • Benjamin Ukert
Research Article


This study evaluates the effect of minimum wage on risky health behaviors, healthcare access, and self-reported health. We use data from the 1993–2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and employ a difference-in-differences strategy that utilizes time variation in new minimum wage laws across U.S. states. Results suggest that the minimum wage increases the probability of being obese and decreases daily fruit and vegetable intake, but also decreases days with functional limitations while having no impact on healthcare access. Subsample analyses reveal that the increase in weight and decrease in fruit and vegetable intake are driven by the older population, married, and whites. The improvement in self-reported health is especially strong among non-whites, females, and married.


Minimum wage Risky health behaviors Smoking Drinking BMI 

JEL Classification

I10 I12 I18 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Wharton School, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and the Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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