Ecuador Phased Out Leaded Gasoline in 1997. Guess What Happened 17 Years Later?

Alejandro Tamayo/San Diego Union-Tribune via ZUMA

Over at Vox, Sigal Samuel interviews David Brotherton, who has a theory about Ecuador’s murder rate:

In 2007, the crime-riddled nation of Ecuador did something surprising: It legalized the gangs that had been the source of much of the violence. Then something even more surprising happened over the next decade: Murder rates plummeted…from 15.35 per 100,000 people in 2011 to 5 per 100,000 people in 2017.

Brotherton theorizes that the decline in the murder rate was due to Ecuador’s 2007 decision to legalize gangs. Maybe so! But it’s also interesting to note that Ecuador phased out leaded gasoline between 1997 and 2001. This would lead you to expect a big drop in violent crime between 2014 and 2018. And that’s what happened.

How about that?

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

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