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PHS Monday Seminar: Sam Trejo, PhD- “Learning From Flint: The Health and Social Effects of the Flint Water Crisis on Educational Outcomes”

February 15, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Assistant Professor of Sociology & Public Affairs
University of Wisconsin- Madison

Abstract:
In 2014, Flint, Michigan switched its municipal water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River as a cost saving measure. The corrosive river water was improperly treated, causing lead from aging pipes to leach into the city’s drinking water. As a result of prolonged denial and inaction by public officials, Flint’s 100,000 citizens were exposed to contaminated water for over a year and a half. The majority black, industrial city has since become a national symbol for government negligence and racial injustice. We use synthetic control and difference-in-differences methods to quantify the educational consequences of the Flint Water Crisis for affected children. By combining sixteen years of student-level education records with detailed GIS plumbing data, we separate out (1) the health-based effects of lead exposure from (2) the socially-based effects of living in a community experiencing a crisis. Our results demonstrate that, for school-age children, the social effects of the Flint Water Crisis, potentially operating through mechanisms such as stigma, marginalization, and social unrest, were large compared to the health effects.

Sam Trejo CV

Details

Date:
February 15, 2021
Time:
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category: