UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Ivan Rudik, Cornell University

The social cost of leaded gasoline: Evidence from regulatory exemptions

Date and Location

Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 3:40 PM - 5:00 PM
ARE Library Conference Room, 4101 Social Sciences and Humanities

Abstract

Leaded gasoline is still widely used in the United States for aviation and automotive racing. Exploiting regulatory exemptions and a novel quasi-experiment, we find that leaded gasoline increases ambient lead concentrations, elevated blood lead rates, and elderly mortality. The estimated effects indicate the social cost of a gram of lead added to gasoline is over $1,100. Our results are the first causal estimates linking adult mortality to leaded gasoline, highlight the historic value of banning on-road leaded gasoline, demonstrate the costs of continued regulatory exemptions, and provide policy-relevant cost estimates of lead emissions at the lowest ambient levels to date.

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