Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime
AbstractChildhood lead exposure can lead to psychological traits that are strongly associated with aggressive and criminal behavior. In the late 1970s in the United States, lead was removed from gasoline under the Clean Air Act. I use the state-specific reductions in lead exposure that resulted from this removal to identify the effect of childhood lead exposure on crime rates. The elasticity of violent crime with respect to childhood lead exposure is estimated to be 0.8, and this result is robust to numerous sensitivity tests. Mixed evidence supports an effect of lead exposure on murder rates, and little evidence indicates an effect of lead on property crime. Overall, I find that the reduction in childhood lead exposure in the late 1970s and early 1980s was responsible for significant declines in violent crime in the 1990s and may cause further declines in the future. Moreover, the social value of the reductions in violent crime far exceeds the cost of the removal of lead from gasoline.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.
Volume (Year): 7 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.degruyter.com
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Christopher R. Knittel & Douglas L. Miller & Nicholas J. Sanders, 2011.
"Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health,"
NBER Working Papers
17222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher R. Knittel & Douglas L. Miller & Nicholas J. Sanders, 2011. "Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health," Working Papers 1113, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
- Dave E. Marcotte & Sara Markowitz, 2009.
"A Cure for Crime? Psycho-Pharmaceuticals and Crime Trends,"
NBER Working Papers
15354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dave E. Marcotte & Sara Markowitz, 2011. "A cure for crime? Psycho‐pharmaceuticals and crime trends," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(1), pages 29-56, December.
- Ferrie, Joseph P. & Rolf, Karen & Troesken, Werner, 2012. "Cognitive disparities, lead plumbing, and water chemistry: Prior exposure to water-borne lead and intelligence test scores among World War Two U.S. Army enlistees," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 98-111.
- Matthew E. Kahn, 2010. "New Evidence on Trends in the Cost of Urban Agglomeration," NBER Chapters, in: Agglomeration Economics, pages 339-354 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Angela K. Dills & Jeffrey A. Miron & Garrett Summers, 2010.
"What Do Economists Know about Crime?,"
in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 269-302
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Nunley, John M. & Seals, Richard Alan & Zietz, Joachim, 2011. "Demographic change, macroeconomic conditions, and the murder rate: The case of the United States, 1934–2006," The Journal of Socio-Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 942-948.
- Theodore J. Joyce, 2009. "Abortion and Crime: A Review," NBER Working Papers 15098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John M. Nunley & Richard Alan Seals & Joachim Zietz, 2010. "Demographic Change, Macroeconomic Conditions, and the Murder Rate: The Case of the United States, 1934 to 2006," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2010-04, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
- Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew, 2011.
"The Origins of Intergenerational Associations in Crime: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
8318, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew J., 2013. "The origins of intergenerational associations in crime: Lessons from Swedish adoption data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 68-81.
- Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew J., 2011. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations in Crime: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," Working Paper Series 11/2011, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
- Pope, Devin G. & Pope, Jaren C., 2012. "Crime and property values: Evidence from the 1990s crime drop," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 177-188.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.