Cognitive Disparities, Lead Plumbing, and Water Chemistry: Intelligence Test Scores and Exposure to Water-Borne Lead Among World War Two U.S. Army Enlistees
AbstractAssessing the impact of lead exposure is difficult if individuals select on the basis of their characteristics into environments with different exposure levels. We address this issue with data from when the dangers of lead exposure were still largely unknown, using new evidence on intelligence test scores for male World War Two U.S. Army enlistees linked to the households where they resided in 1930. Higher exposure to water-borne lead (proxied by urban residence and low water pH levels) was associated with lower test scores: going from pH 6 to pH 5.5, scores fell 5 points (1/4 standard deviation). A longer time exposed led to a more severe effect. The ubiquity of lead in urban water systems at this time and uncertainty regarding its impact mean these effects are unlikely to have resulted from selection into locations with different levels of exposure.
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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17161.
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as “Cogn iti ve Dis par iti e s, Le ad P lumpin g, an d Wa te r Ch e mist r y: P r ior Exposur e to W ate r - Bor ne Le ad an d In te lli ge nc e Te st Sc or e s A mon g Wor ld W ar Two Ar my En lis te e s,” Econom ics and Hu ma n Bi ol ogy , vol . 10, n o. 1 ( Jan uar y 201 2): 98- 112. Co-a uthor s: J ose ph P. Fe r r ie (Nor th we ste r n Un ive r sity ) a nd Ka r e n Rolf (U ni ve r sity of Ne br aska at Oma ha ).
Note: DAE HE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
- N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-07-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-NEU-2011-07-02 (Neuroeconomics)
- NEP-URE-2011-07-02 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hilton, F. G. Hank & Levinson, Arik, 1998. "Factoring the Environmental Kuznets Curve: Evidence from Automotive Lead Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 126-141, March.
- Werner Troesken, 2006. "The Great Lead Water Pipe Disaster," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262201674, December.
- Kerr, Suzi & Newell, Richard, 2001.
"Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown,"
dp-01-14, Resources For the Future.
- Suzi Kerr & Richard G. Newell, 2003. "Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 317-343, 09.
- Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
- Karen Clay & Werner Troesken & Michael R. Haines, 2010. "Lead and Mortality," NBER Working Papers 16480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Janet Currie & Tom Vogl, 2012.
"Early-Life Health and Adult Circumstance in Developing Countries,"
1454, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
- Janet Currie & Tom Vogl, 2013. "Early-Life Health and Adult Circumstance in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, 05.
- Janet Currie & Tom Vogl, 2012. "Early-Life Health and Adult Circumstance in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 18371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John Parman, 2013. "Childhood Health and Sibling Outcomes: The Shared Burden and Benefit of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic," NBER Working Papers 19505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.