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Do Low Levels of Blood Lead Reduce Children's Future Test Scores?

Author(s): Aizer, Anna; Currie, Janet M.; Simon, Peter; Vivier, Patrick

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Abstract: We construct a unique individual-level dataset linking preschool blood lead levels with third grade test scores for Rhode Island children born 1997–2005. Using two identification strategies, we show for the first time that reductions of lead from even historically low levels have significant positive effects. A one-unit decrease in average blood lead levels reduces the probability of being substantially below proficient in reading (math) by 0.96 (0.79) percentage points on a baseline of 12 (16) percent. Since disadvantaged children have greater exposure to lead, lead poisoning may be one of the causes of continuing disparities in test scores.
Publication Date: Jan-2018
Citation: Aizer, Anna, Currie, Janet, Simon, Peter, Vivier, Patrick. (2018). Do Low Levels of Blood Lead Reduce Children's Future Test Scores?. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 10 (1), 307 - 341. doi:10.1257/app.20160404
DOI: doi:10.1257/app.20160404
ISSN: 1945-7782
EISSN: 1945-7790
Pages: 307 - 341
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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