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Excess COVID-19 Infections, Mortality, and Economic Development in India


  • Mathur Monika

    (PhD in Economics, Associate Professor of Economics, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Manipal University Jaipur, India)

  • Ray Achintya

    (PhD in Economics, Professor of Economics, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN, USA)


The main purpose of the research is to estimate the extent of excess Covid-19 cases and mortalities in India and examine its relationship with the degree of economic progress in various parts of the country especially given the uneven nature of the impact of the pandemic throughout the nation. The main hypotheses of the study were: 1) in areas with a high level of income per capita, the death rate per 100,000 population will be lower; 2) areas with a high level of income per capita tend to be more urbanized, economically active, and therefore quite densely populated, which increases the probability of morbidity and mortality. The object of research is over 20 million Covid-19 cases and over 370,000 deaths in 31 States and Union Territories (UTs) in India beginning in the first months of the pandemic and going through the middle of 2021. The methodological tools of the conducted research were the methods of regression analysis. The study of a relative measure of success in pandemic management (less than one-half of the median death rate as the relative threshold for measuring success) empirically confirms and theoretically proves that India had at least 16.6 million excess Covid-19 cases and over 228,000 excess COVID-19 deaths as of June 18, 2021. The paper presents the results of an empirical analysis of the relationship between excess deaths of the population from Covid-19 and state-level per-capita income (as an explanatory variable), which testified that about 60% of actual and excess deaths can be explained by the per-capita income alone. According to the results of the analysis, it was proved that actual and excess deaths are both higher in richer states. Poorer states did considerably well in keeping Covid-19 mortality low compared to their more affluent counterparts. The positive relationship between Covid-19 mortality and per-capita income does not go away even after controlling for the caseloads used as a proxy for the spread of the pandemic. This augmented model explains about 80% of the actual and excess deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic in India. After controlling for caseloads, a thousand Rupees increase in per-capita income contributed to about 15 additional deaths per 100,000 population. The article presents the results of an empirical analysis of the relationship between economic development (as measured by the per-capita income) and excess mortality from COVID-19, which proved a positive relationship between them and proved a potentially adverse impact of economic progress on human immunity, especially if population density, living conditions, and food security moderate that relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Mathur Monika & Ray Achintya, 2022. "Excess COVID-19 Infections, Mortality, and Economic Development in India," Business Ethics and Leadership, Sciendo, vol. 6(4), pages 100-107, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:belead:v:6:y:2022:i:4:p:100-107:n:9
    DOI: 10.21272/bel.64.100-107.2022

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    More about this item


    India; Covid-19 cases; excess mortality; regional disparities; economic development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health


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