The Effect of Minimum Wages on Adolescent Fertility: A Nationwide Analysis

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Abstract

Objectives

To investigate the effect of minimum wage laws on adolescent birth rates in the United States.

Methods

I used a difference-in-differences approach and vital statistics data measured quarterly at the state level from 2003 to 2014. All models included state covariates, state and quarter-year fixed effects, and state-specific quarter-year nonlinear time trends, which provided plausibly causal estimates of the effect of minimum wage on adolescent birth rates.

Results

A $1 increase in minimum wage reduces adolescent birth rates by about 2%. The effects are driven by non-Hispanic White and Hispanic adolescents.

Conclusions

Nationwide, increasing minimum wages by $1 would likely result in roughly 5000 fewer adolescent births annually.

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