Above: We show, using only public data, that places with higher initial lead levels experienced larger decreases in lead levels and that those places demonstrated larger increases in high-school completion. Causal evidence with restricted data is coming soon.

Part of FSRDC Project UT-02272

Abstract

Beginning in the mid-1970s, airborne lead levels began to decrease sharply due to environmental regulation that reduced the content of lead in gasoline and the improved vehicle emissions technology. However, the long-run benefits of near-elimination of lead emissions on economic outcomes and racial equality are not well understood. This project utilizes restricted Census and Social Security data to link adult outcomes to exact place of birth and related lead exposure to assess the impact of the phaseout of leaded gasoline on human capital achievement, earnings, and other measures of well-being.