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Publication Date


First Advisor

Roger Kaufman

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Minimum wage, Poverty, Labor economics, U.S. minimum wage policy, Single mothers


Economists and policymakers disagree about the extent to which the minimum wage is an effective mechanism for reducing poverty. Some economists argue that increasing the minimum wage is effective in increasing the incomes of those at the bottom of the income distribution while others argue that it causes unemployment and hour reductions that have a negative net effect on earnings.1 I use state-year aggregated panel data from the 2003 through 2018 March supplements of the Current Population Survey with state and year fixed effects to analyze the relationship between the minimum wage and poverty rates. Overall, I find that higher minimum wages are correlated with lower poverty rates, and this effect is greater for single mothers, particularly black single mothers, Hispanic single mothers, and single mothers with a high school degree or less.


©2019 Sarah Elizabeth Albert Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




41 pages : color map, color chart. Includes bibliographical references (pages 39-41)