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How lead exposure relates to temporal changes in IQ, violent crime, and unwed pregnancy

Author

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  • Nevin, Rick

Abstract

This study compares changes in children’s blood lead levels in the United States with subsequent changes in IQ, based on norm comparisons for the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) given to representative national samples of children in 1984 and 1992. The CogAT norm comparisons indicate shifts in IQ levels consistent with the blood lead to IQ relationship reported by an earlier study and population shifts in average blood lead for children under age six between 1976 and 1991. The CogAT norm comparisons also support studies indicating that the IQ to blood lead slope may increase at lower blood lead levels. Furthermore, long term trends in population exposure to gasoline lead were found to be remarkably consistent with subsequent changes in violent crime and unwed pregnancy. Long term trends in paint and gasoline lead exposure are also strongly associated with subsequent trends in murder rates going back to 1900. The findings on violent crime and unwed pregnancy are consistent with published data describing the relationship between IQ and social behavior. The findings with respect to violent crime are also consistent with studies indicating that children with higher bone lead tend to display more aggressive and delinquent behavior. This analysis demonstrates that widespread exposure to lead is likely to have profound implications for a wide array of socially undesirable outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Nevin, Rick, 1999. "How lead exposure relates to temporal changes in IQ, violent crime, and unwed pregnancy," MPRA Paper 35324, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:35324
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/35324/1/MPRA_paper_35324.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan Earl-Slater, 1998. "Report," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 65-68, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Aizer & Janet Currie, 2017. "Lead and Juvenile Delinquency: New Evidence from Linked Birth, School and Juvenile Detention Records," NBER Working Papers 23392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:pit:wpaper:424 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Nevin, Rick & Jacobs, David / E. & Berg, Michael & Cohen, Jonathan, 2007. "Monetary benefits of preventing childhood lead poisoning with lead-safe window replacement," MPRA Paper 35340, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Nevin, Rick, 2007. "Understanding international crime trends: The legacy of preschool lead exposure," MPRA Paper 35338, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Magnus Lofstrom & Steven Raphael, 2016. "Crime, the Criminal Justice System, and Socioeconomic Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 103-126, Spring.
    6. Nevin, Rick & Jacobs, David / E., 2006. "Windows of opportunity: lead poisoning prevention, housing affordability, and energy conservation," MPRA Paper 35342, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Billings, Stephen B. & Schnepel, Kevin T., 2017. "Life After Lead: Effects of Early Interventions for Children Exposed to Lead," IZA Discussion Papers 10872, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, 2014. "Lead Exposure and Behavior: Effects on Antisocial and Risky Behavior among Children and Adolescents," NBER Working Papers 20366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Nevin, Rick, 2012. "Lead Poisoning and The Bell Curve," MPRA Paper 36569, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Philip J. Cook & John H. Laub, 2001. "After the Epidemic: Recent Trends in Youth Violence in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Nevin, Rick, 2008. "Trends in preschool lead exposure, mental retardation, and scholastic achievement: association or causation?," MPRA Paper 35339, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Lead Exposure; IQ; Violent Crime; Unwed Pregnancy;

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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