Numerous policymakers have accepted claims in the public health literature that the United States is in the middle of a serious epidemic of childhood lead poisoning, due primarily to lead paint in the housing stock. This article analyzes some of the most influential lead paint epidemiological studies from an economics perspective and finds evidence that the claimed effects of lead on intelligence, school success, and other outcomes may be grossly exaggerated. In addition, the main cost-benefit analysis used by policymakers to advocate lead paint abatement of the entire U.S. housing stock contains serious mathematical errors and strikingly implausible economic assumptions. A corrected model shows that the proposed national abatement policy is likely to yield no net benefit.
The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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