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

  • Nicholas J. Sanders

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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File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/47/3/826
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 47 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 826-850

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2012:iii:1:p:826-850
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Marten Palme, 2007. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," Discussion Papers 0607-19, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  2. Alan Barreca, 2009. "Climate Change, Humidity, and Mortality in the United States," Working Papers 0906, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2009.
  3. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2007. "Enhanced routines for instrumental variables/generalized method of moments estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(4), pages 465-506, December.
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  8. Christopher R. Knittel & Douglas L. Miller & Nicholas J. Sanders, 2011. "Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health," Working Papers 1113, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
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