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The grandkids aren't alright: the intergenerational effects of prenatal pollution exposure

Colmer, Jonathan and Voorheis, John (2020) The grandkids aren't alright: the intergenerational effects of prenatal pollution exposure. CEP Discussion Papers (1733). Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

Evidence shows that environmental quality shapes human capital at birth with long-run effects on health and welfare. Do these effects, in turn, affect the economic opportunities of future generations? Using newly linked survey and administrative data, providing more than 150 million parent-child links, we show that regulationinduced improvements in air quality that an individual experienced in the womb increase the likelihood that their children, the second generation, attend college 40-50 years later. Intergenerational transmission appears to arise from greater parental resources and investments, rather than heritable, biological channels. Our findings suggest that within-generation estimates of marginal damages substantially underestimate the total welfare effects of improving environmental quality and point to the empirical relevance of environmental quality as a contributor to economic opportunity in the United States.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: https://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/discussion...
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: H - Public Economics > H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue > H23 - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q5 - Environmental Economics > Q53 - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J0 - General > J00 - General
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2021 14:42
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 12:14
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/108495

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