April 16, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Oxford, United Kingdom—Does raising the minimum wage relieve workers’ depression? Yes, says a study published in the British journal Health Economics April 4. When Britain introduced its national minimum wage of £3.60 an hour (about $5.13) in 1999, it found, workers who got a raise reported fewer symptoms of depression for almost two years after.
The study, by researchers from the University of Oxford and three other schools, examined responses by 10,000 people to questions about whether they felt “constantly under strain” or “unhappy and depressed” on a survey of community mental health from 1991 to 2009, and compared them with those of other low-wage workers who had not gotten a raise. “Our study found that increasing wages for low-income workers can have as powerful an effect on mental health as prescribing antidepressants,” Oxford professor David Stuckler, one of the authors, said in a statement. Read more