Pathways Between Minimum Wages and Health: The Roles of Health Insurance, Health Care Access and Health Care Utilization

  • Otto LenhartEmail author
Original Article


This study contributes to recent work on the relationship between minimum wages and health by examining potential underlying mechanisms. Specifically, the roles of health insurance, health care access and utilization are explored. By analyzing Current Population Survey data for the years 1989–2009 and by estimating DD models, I find that higher minimum wages increase health insurance coverage, in particular individually purchased insurance, among low-educated individuals. By estimating data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for the same period, I furthermore provide evidence for improvements in health care access/affordability and increased health care utilization following minimum wage increases.


Minimum wages Health Pathways Health care access Health behaviors 

JEL Classification

I1 I12 I13 



I thank Catherine Maclean, anonymous referees, seminar participants at the University of Konstanz and participants at the Minimum Wages and Health session at the 8th Annual Conference of the American Society of Health Economists (2019).


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Copyright information

© EEA 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, Duncan Wing, Strathclyde Business SchoolUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

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