Claudia Persico, Assistant Professor, Department of Public Administration and Policy, American University
The Long-Run Spillover Effects of Pollution: How Exposure to Lead Affects Everyone in the Classroom
Children exposed to pollutants like lead are more disruptive and have lower achievement. However, little is known about whether lead-exposed children affect the long-run outcomes of their peers. We estimate these spillover effects using new data on preschool blood lead levels (BLLs) matched to education data for all students in North Carolina public schools. We compare siblings whose school-grade cohorts differ in the proportion of children with elevated BLLs, holding constant school and peers’ demographics, to estimate the long run impacts of lead-exposed peers on educational outcomes.