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The Effects of Fluoride in Drinking Water


  • Linuz Aggeborn
  • Mattias Öhman


Water fluoridation is a common but debated public policy. In this paper, we use Swedish registry data to study the causal effects of fluoride in drinking water. We exploit exogenous variation in natural fluoride stemming from variation in geological characteristics at water sources to identify its effects. First, we reconfirm the long-established positive effect of fluoride on dental health. Second, we estimate a zero effect on cognitive ability in contrast to several recent debated epidemiological studies. Third, fluoride is furthermore found to increase labor income. This effect is foremost driven by individuals from a lower socioeconomic background.

Suggested Citation

  • Linuz Aggeborn & Mattias Öhman, 2021. "The Effects of Fluoride in Drinking Water," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 129(2), pages 465-491.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/711915
    DOI: 10.1086/711915

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Chris Sampson’s journal round-up for 15th February 2021
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2021-02-15 12:00:01


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    Cited by:

    1. Banu Preethi Gopu & Liane B. Azevedo & Ralph M. Duckworth & Murali K. P. Subramanian & Sherley John & Fatemeh Vida Zohoori, 2022. "The Relationship between Fluoride Exposure and Cognitive Outcomes from Gestation to Adulthood—A Systematic Review," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 20(1), pages 1-13, December.
    2. Wang, Dongqin & Shen, Yanni, 2022. "Sanitation and work time: Evidence from the toilet revolution in rural China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 158(C).

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