Cognitive Disparities, Lead Plumbing, and Water Chemistry: Intelligence Test Scores and Exposure to Water-Borne Lead Among World War Two U.S. Army Enlistees
Assessing the impact of lead exposure is difficult if individuals select on the basis of their characteristics into environments with different exposure levels. We address this issue with data from when the dangers of lead exposure were still largely unknown, using new evidence on intelligence test scores for male World War Two U.S. Army enlistees linked to the households where they resided in 1930. Higher exposure to water-borne lead (proxied by urban residence and low water pH levels) was associated with lower test scores: going from pH 6 to pH 5.5, scores fell 5 points (1/4 standard deviation). A longer time exposed led to a more severe effect. The ubiquity of lead in urban water systems at this time and uncertainty regarding its impact mean these effects are unlikely to have resulted from selection into locations with different levels of exposure.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Joseph P. Ferrie & Karen Rolf & Werner Troesken, 2012. "Cognitive disparities, lead plumbing, and water chemistry: Prior exposure to water-borne lead and intelligence test scores among World War Two U.S. Army enlistees," Economics & Human Biology, vol 10(1), pages 98-111.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hilton, F. G. Hank & Levinson, Arik, 1998. "Factoring the Environmental Kuznets Curve: Evidence from Automotive Lead Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 126-141, March.
- Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117.
- Karen Clay & Werner Troesken & Michael R. Haines, 2010. "Lead and Mortality," NBER Working Papers 16480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Suzi Kerr & Richard G. Newell, 2003.
"Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown,"
Journal of Industrial Economics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 317-343, 09.
- Kerr, Suzi & Newell, Richard, 2001. "Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown," Discussion Papers dp-01-14, Resources For the Future.
- Werner Troesken, 2006. "The Great Lead Water Pipe Disaster," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262201674, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17161. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.