Lead and Violence

From yesterday's WaPo, looks like neither Giuliani nor abortion get credit:

Although crime did fall dramatically in New York during Giuliani's tenure, a broad range of scientific research has emerged in recent years to show that the mayor deserves only a fraction of the credit that he claims. The most compelling information has come from an economist in Fairfax who has argued in a series of little-noticed papers that the "New York miracle" was caused by local and federal efforts decades earlier to reduce lead poisoning.

The theory offered by the economist, Rick Nevin, is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children's exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives.

What makes Nevin's work persuasive is that he has shown an identical, decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries.

It is stunning how strong the association is," Nevin said in an interview. "Sixty-five to ninety percent or more of the substantial variation in violent crime in all these countries was explained by lead."

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Romans ?

Roman were exposed to lead a lot more than we are today, through bathes and their plumbing system. I wonder if any data show that this led to more crime. Worse, not only had they lead, but weapons were banned from the city (though obvioulsy more gladii, less crime)

ackbar, soviet russia and beowulf clusters

Isn't this the part where someone meekly asserts that correllation doesn't imply causation?

Sure but what has this got

Sure but what has this got to do with /. ?

fark that

I just didn't want to come off as a cliche.

More peer review please

It's an interesting result that begs for critical scrutiny, especially because the claimed effect is so strong.