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Understanding international crime trends: The legacy of preschool lead exposure

Author

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  • Nevin, Rick

Abstract

This study shows a very strong association between preschool blood lead and subsequent crime rate trends over several decades in the USA, Britain, Canada, France, Australia, Finland, Italy, West Germany, and New Zealand. The relationship is characterized by best-fit lags (highest R2 and t-value for blood lead) consistent with neurobehavioral damage in the first year of life and the peak age of offending for index crime, burglary, and violent crime. The impact of blood lead is also evident in age-specific arrest and incarceration trends. Regression analysis of average 1985-1994 murder rates across USA cities suggests that murder could be especially associated with more severe cases of childhood lead poisoning.

Suggested Citation

  • Nevin, Rick, 2007. "Understanding international crime trends: The legacy of preschool lead exposure," MPRA Paper 35338, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:35338
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/35338/1/MPRA_paper_35338.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 163-190, Winter.
    2. Nevin, Rick & Bender, Christopher & Gazan, Heather, 1999. "More evidence of rational market values for home energy efficiency," MPRA Paper 35344, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. John J. Donohue & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Legalized Abortion and Crime," JCPR Working Papers 104, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. מחקר - ביטוח לאומי, 2006. "Annual Survey 2005," Working Papers 15, National Insurance Institute of Israel.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Laura Chioda, 2017. "Stop the Violence in Latin America," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 25920, April.
    2. Feigenbaum, James J. & Muller, Christopher, 2016. "Lead exposure and violent crime in the early twentieth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 51-86.
    3. 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.
    4. Angela K. Dills & Jeffrey A. Miron & Garrett Summers, 2010. "What Do Economists Know about Crime?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 269-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:ucp:jaerec:doi:10.1086/691686 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Sammy Zahran & Terrence Iverson & Shawn P. McElmurry & Stephan Weiler, 2017. "The Effect of Leaded Aviation Gasoline on Blood Lead in Children," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 575-610.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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).
    10. Nevin, Rick, 2010. "Energy-efficient housing stimulus that pays for itself," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 4-11, January.
    11. 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.
    12. Janet Currie & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Understanding the Cycle: Childhood Maltreatment and Future Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 509-549.
    13. Nevin, Rick, 2012. "Lead Poisoning and The Bell Curve," MPRA Paper 36569, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. 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 Poisoning; Crime; IQ; Behavior; Violence;

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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