CEGA Faculty Affiliate William Dow and coauthors find that increasing the minimum wage in a state has decreased suicide rates:
“Since 2000, the suicide rate in the United States has risen 35 percent, primarily because of the significant increase in such deaths among the white population.
There are hints that these deaths are the result of worsening prospects among less-educated people, but there are few immediate answers. But maybe the solution is simple: pursue policies that improve the prospects of working-class Americans.
Researchers have found that when the minimum wage in a state increased, or when states boosted a tax credit for working families, the suicide rate decreased.
Raising the minimum wage and the earned-income tax credit (EITC) by 10 percent each could prevent about 1,230 suicides annually, according to a working paper circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research this week.
The EITC was designed to boost the wages of low-income workers, particularly families with children. Many states have supplemented or expanded the credit.”
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