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IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy Working Paper Series
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2017:4:
Early lead exposure and outcomes in adulthood

Hans Grönqvist (), J Peter Nilsson () and Per-Olof Robling ()

Abstract: We exploit the phase-out of leaded gasoline to isolate the impact of early childhood lead exposure on outcomes in adulthood. By combining administrative data on school performance, high school graduation, crime, earnings, and cognitive and non-cognitive skills with a novel measure of lead exposure, we follow 800,000 children from birth into adulthood. We find that reduced lead exposure improves the adult outcomes, particularly among boys. Below certain thresholds, the relationship becomes much weaker. Non-cognitive traits (externalizing behavior, conscientiousness, and neuroti-cism) follow a similar non-linear dose response pattern and seem to be the key mediators between early lead exposure and adult outcomes.

Keywords: environmental policy; human capital; crime; non-cognitive skills; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: I18; K42; Q53; (follow links to similar papers)

70 pages, May 15, 2017

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