Valuing Children's Health: A Reassessment of the Benefits of Lower Lead Levels
16 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2000
Date Written: March 2000
Benefits to parents of lower lead levels in their children are much less than federal regulatory agencies' estimates of benefits, which they compute as the expected discounted gains to children's lifetime earnings. Using earlier work by Agee and Crocker, I show benefits to parents are between $1,100 and $1,900 per IQ point gained, or roughly one-sixth of the benefits to children estimated by federal agencies. The new estimates are superior insofar as they are based on observed behavior. They also use a more robust measure of lead levels in children. This analysis suggests lead standards will redistribute resources from parents to their children, because the benefits to parents are less than the costs of the standards. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development should reconsider their lead standards.
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