Toxic Truth: Lead and Fertility

83 Pages Posted: 25 May 2018

See all articles by Karen Clay

Karen Clay

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Margarita Portnykh

Carnegie Mellon University

Edson Severnini

Carnegie Mellon University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2018

Abstract

Using U.S county level data on lead in air for 1978-1988, this paper provides the first causal evidence on the effects of airborne lead exposure on the general fertility rate and the completed fertility rate in the broad population. Instrumental variable estimates show the increase in completed fertility implied by the average observed decrease in airborne lead is 0.14 children per woman, which is 6.4 percent of mean fertility. To explore the current relevance of our findings, we estimate the effect of lead historically accumulated in topsoil on fertility in the 2000s. The results suggest that lead may continue to impair fertility today, both in the United States and in other countries that have significant amounts of lead in topsoil.

Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.

Suggested Citation

Clay, Karen B. and Portnykh, Margarita and Severnini, Edson, Toxic Truth: Lead and Fertility (May 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24607. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3182246

Karen B. Clay (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Margarita Portnykh

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Edson Severnini

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
8
Abstract Views
122
PlumX Metrics