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What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Weaker: Prenatal Pollution Exposure and Educational Outcomes

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  • Nicholas J. Sanders

Abstract

I examine the impact of prenatal total suspended particulate (TSP) exposure on educational outcomes using county-level variation in the timing and severity of the industrial recession of the early 1980s as a shock to ambient TSPs (similar to Chay and Greenstone 2003b). I then instrument for pollution levels using county-level changes in relative manufacturing employment. A standard deviation decrease in TSPs in a student’s year of birth is associated with 2 percent of a standard deviation increase in high school test scores for OLS and 6 percent for IV. I also consider how migration and selection into motherhood relate to my results.

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  • Nicholas J. Sanders, 2012. "What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Weaker: Prenatal Pollution Exposure and Educational Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 826-850.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2012:iii:1:p:826-850
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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