Environmental lead and falling crime rates?

27 Apr

Did lower levels of environmental lead contribute to falling crime rates?

Sociologist  Mark Kleiman has been a supporter of this hypothesis. In an interesting blog post he acknowledges a flaw in the argument:

“the theory predicts that we should have seen the crime declines specifically in the birth cohorts exposed to less lead, and that’s not what we saw in fact.”

All of Kleiman’s posts on lead can be seen here. I admire his commitment to re-examining the evidence:

“The lead-crime story fits all my political prejudices, as well as my taste for simple and surprising explanations with clear policy implications. And I’ve been a loud advocate for it. But I don’t want to believe it if it isn’t true.”

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