Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime
Childhood 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.
If 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.
Volume (Year): 7 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.degruyter.com|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejeap|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:7:y:2007:i:1:n:51. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.