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Lead Exposure And Behavior: Effects On Antisocial And Risky Behavior Among Children And Adolescents

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  • Jessica Wolpaw Reyes

Abstract

It is well known that exposure to lead has numerous adverse effects on behavior and development. Using data on two cohorts of children from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), this paper investigates the effect of early childhood lead exposure on behavior problems from childhood through early adulthood. I find large negative consequences of early childhood lead exposure, in the form of an unfolding series of adverse behavioral outcomes: behavior problems as a child, pregnancy and aggression as a teen, and criminal behavior as a young adult. At the levels of lead that were the norm in United States until the late 1980s, estimated elasticities of these behaviors with respect to lead range between 0.1 and 1.0. (JEL I18, J13, K49, Q53, Q58)

Suggested Citation

  • Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, 2015. "Lead Exposure And Behavior: Effects On Antisocial And Risky Behavior Among Children And Adolescents," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(3), pages 1580-1605, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:53:y:2015:i:3:p:1580-1605
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecin.2015.53.issue-3
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:2:p:544-567 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Bondy, Malvina & Roth, Sefi & Sager, Lutz, 2018. "Crime is in the Air: The Contemporaneous Relationship between Air Pollution and Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 11492, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Daniel S. Grossman & David J.G. Slusky, 2017. "The Effect of an Increase in Lead in the Water System on Fertility and Birth Outcomes: The Case of Flint, Michigan," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 201703, University of Kansas, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2017.
    4. Clay, Karen & Portnykh, Margarita & Severnini, Edson R., 2018. "Toxic Truth: Lead and Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 11541, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Wei Long, 2016. "Does Longer Incarceration Deter or Incapacitate Crimes? New Evidence from Truth-in-Sentencing Reform," Working Papers 1607, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    6. Feigenbaum, James J. & Muller, Christopher, 2016. "Lead exposure and violent crime in the early twentieth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 51-86.
    7. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:1511-1537 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Anna Aizer & Janet Currie, 2017. "Lead and Juvenile Delinquency: New Evidence from Linked Birth, School and Juvenile Detention Records," NBER Working Papers 23392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. James B. Ang & Per G. Fredriksson, 2017. "Statehood Experience, Legal Traditions, And Climate Change Policies," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(3), pages 1511-1537, July.
    10. Billings, Stephen B. & Schnepel, Kevin T., 2017. "Life After Lead: Effects of Early Interventions for Children Exposed to Lead," IZA Discussion Papers 10872, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • K49 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Other
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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