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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Iowa: Researcher Looks at Link between Changes in Minimum Wage, Long-term Health

A new study led by a researcher at the University of Iowa will examine whether children’s health can be positively affected by an increase in their parents’ minimum wage.

“Children’s health is more malleable early in life and sensitive to changes like social or economic changes,” said Dr. George Wehby, a professor of health management and policy and health economics at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. “Effects of early life changes tend to accumulate over time.”

“For example, positive effects, multiplied over time, on children’s health could lead to doing better in school, which will build over time and have long-term effects as they become adults.”

The two-year study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is headed by principal investigators Dr. Wehby and Dr. Robert Kaestner, research professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, and Dr. Dhaval Dave, professor of economics at Bentley University.

The three researchers codesigned the project and statistical models. Dr. Wehby will supervise the data analysis.

The current study also will examine the effects of minimum wage on several areas that could affect children’s long-term health and outcomes:

Some preliminary studies have shown positive health effects for adults when their minimum wage has increased.