Rudy Giuliani, who's running for commander-in-chief on his tough-guy cred, can thank early-1970s reductions in lead levels for his crime-busting success, a new study argues. Economist Rick Nevin concludes that the nearly 60% decrease in violent crime during Rudy's stint as mayor is a result of government programs to cut lead poisoning—which has been tied to aggression.
Most experts credit the Giuliani administration with reducing violent crime by targeting general deliquency—the so-called "broken windows" approach. But Nevin points to similar declines in nine other countries; in each, crime levels dropped dramatically as kids who'd grown up with lower exposure came of age. "It is stunning how strong the association is," he says.