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Minimum wage policy protects against suicide in the USA
  1. Jennifer Ahern
  1. School of Public Health, Epidemiology & Biostatistics Division, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jennifer Ahern, School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360, USA; jahern{at}

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Kaufman and colleagues have considered the relationship between minimum wage and suicide mortality in the USA.1 Overall, they found that a dollar increase in the minimum wage was related to a meaningful 3.4% decrease in suicide mortality for those of lower educational attainment. Interestingly, this is the third paper in recent months to address the question of how minimum wage affects suicide. Across these papers, there is a remarkable overall consistency of findings, and important subissues are highlighted in each individual paper.

The first of these papers, by Gertner and colleagues, found a 1.9% reduction in suicide associated with a dollar increase in the minimum wage across the total population.2 However, this research was unable to delve into the subgroup effects that would have allowed for a difference in differences approach, or placebo tests, due to their data source. First, Dow and colleagues,3 and then Kaufman and colleagues1 built on this initial finding with analyses of data that facilitated examination of subgroups. Both of these papers considered the group with a high school education or …

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  • Contributors JA conceptualised, researched and wrote this commentary.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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