Date of This Version
This paper provides new estimates of the effects of increased federal and state minimum wages on the employment-based health insurance coverage of low-wage workers. I use March Current Population Surveys collected from IPUMS, for 1988 to 2005. Previous studies have found no significant evidence that increased minimum wages reduce fringe benefit receipt (Beeson Royalty 2000, Simon and Kaestner 2003). In contrast to these studies, I use a difference-in-difference approach and I define treatment groups as being individuals in the lowest 1 and 2 deciles of the hourly wage distribution. Little evidence was found for the federal minimum wage increase of 1990-91, but estimates of the effect of the 1996-97 increase suggest a small negative impact for younger workers and workers in smaller firms. At the state level, I find more suggestive results of a negative impact of the minimum wage increases. New Jersey (1992) and Massachusetts (2000-2001) exhibit negative effects of being in the treatment group on the probability of having employment-based health insurance for most of the specifications, while the results in Oregon (1991) and Connecticut (2000-2001) are more sensitive to the specification. The results suggest that being in the treatment group makes individuals 3 to 4 percentage points less likely to be policyholders of employment-based health insurance compared to the control group.
Working Paper Number
Bucila, Laura, "Employment-Based Health Insurance and the Minimum Wage" (2008). Economics Department Working Papers. Paper 48.