Something in the Water: Contaminated Drinking Water and Infant Health

30 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2013 Last revised: 31 Jul 2021

See all articles by Janet Currie

Janet Currie

Princeton University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Joshua Graff Zivin

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Katherine Meckel

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics

Matthew Neidell

Columbia University; University of Chicago - Department of Economics and CISES; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Wolfram Schlenker

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2013

Abstract

This paper provides estimates of the effects of in utero exposure to contaminated drinking water on fetal health. We examine the universe of birth records and drinking water testing results for the state of New Jersey from 1997 to 2007. Our data enable us to compare outcomes across siblings who were potentially exposed to differing levels of harmful contaminants from drinking water while in utero. We find small effects of drinking water contamination on all children, but large and statistically significant effects on birth weight and gestation of infants born to less educated mothers. We also show that those mothers who were most affected by contaminants were the least likely to move between births in response to contamination.

Suggested Citation

Currie, Janet and Graff Zivin, Joshua and Meckel, Katherine and Neidell, Matthew and Schlenker, Wolfram, Something in the Water: Contaminated Drinking Water and Infant Health (March 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w18876, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2230766

Janet Currie (Contact Author)

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Joshua Graff Zivin

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Katherine Meckel

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Matthew Neidell

Columbia University ( email )

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Wolfram Schlenker

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