Minimum Wages and Healthy Diet

Clark, Kathryn L., R. Vincent Pohl, and Ryan C. Thomas. 2020. “Minimum Wages and Healthy Diet.” Contemporary Economic Policy 38(3), 546–560.

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Abstract: A healthy diet is often unaffordable for low-income individuals, so income-lifting policies may play an important role in not only alleviating poverty but also in improving nutrition. We investigate if higher minimum wages can contribute to an improved diet by increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables. Exploiting recent minimum wage increases in the U.S. and using individual-level data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System we identify the causal effect of minimum wage changes on fruit and vegetable intake among low-wage individuals in a triple-differences framework. The estimated minimum wage elasticity of fruit and vegetable consumption equals 0.12.