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Czuczor

Brandon Czuczor

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More Money, Less Problems
The Federal Minimum wage was established in 1945 and was created to ensure people were being paid a fair share. Since then, it has been raised multiple times. Generally, arguments for why minimum wage should or should not be raised are based on economic growth. As such, little is known about the impact minimum wage has on mental health. Prior research has shown there is a link between higher income and happiness; however, prior research on minimum wage has failed to find a similar link. This study compares self-reported mental health to state by state 2016 minimum wages using Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Data from 2016. I found that there is evidence that a higher minimum wage does have a positive impact on mental health with people in the lowest household income bracket. However, this conclusion is subject to some limitations. The BRFSS does not report on individual wages. As such, I was unable to determine a direct impact on people who earn the minimum wage rate. In addition, using one year of data does not account for differences that may preexist in the population’s mental health between each state.