The tipping point: could increasing the subminimum wage reduce poverty-related antenatal stressors in U.S. women?

Sarah B. Andrea, Lynne C. Messer, Miguel Marino, Julia M. Goodman, Janne Boone-Heinonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: Tipped workers, primarily women of reproductive-age, can be paid a “subminimum wage” 71% lower than the federal minimum wage, contributing to economic hardship. Poverty-related antenatal stress has deleterious health effects for women and their children. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of increasing the state-level subminimum wage (currently $2.13 per hour) on poverty-related antenatal stress for women in the United States. Methods: Utilizing a difference-in-differences approach comparing state wage policies over time, we estimated the impact of increases in the subminimum wage on poverty-related antenatal stress using data from 35 states participating in the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System between 2004 and 2014, linked to state-level wage laws, census, and antipoverty policy data. Results: The effect of increasing the subminimum wage on poverty-related stress differed by year and sociodemographics. Wage increases in 2014 were associated with the largest decreases in stress for unmarried women of color with less than a college degree, a population that we estimated would have experienced a 19.7% reduction in stress from 2004 to 2014 if subminimum wage was equivalent to the federal minimum wage. Conclusions: Increasing the subminimum wage can reduce poverty-related stress and may be a potential intervention for reducing poor health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-53.e6
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Volume45
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2020

Keywords

  • PRAMS
  • Poverty
  • Psychosocial stress
  • Social policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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