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Unequal Mortality During the Spanish Flu

In: Pandemics, Economics and Inequality

Author

Listed:
  • Sergi Basco

    (University of Barcelona)

  • Jordi Domènech

    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

  • Joan R. Rosés

    (London School of Economics)

Abstract

Determinants of pandemic-related mortality are not well understood. To begin with, there is no consensus on the best approach to count pandemic-related deaths. We argue that excess mortality is a good measure for the 1918 Flu in Spain, but it may not be suitable for other countries. There was substantial variation in excess mortality across occupations in Spain. The highest excess mortality was among low-income workers. In addition, there was a rural mortality penalty across all occupations that temporarily reversed the historical urban penalty. Climatic and economic conditions were correlated with excess mortality in the low-income groups but not in the middle and high-income ones. We conclude that the higher capacity of certain social groups to isolate themselves from social contact was behind these socioeconomic mortality differentials.

Suggested Citation

  • Sergi Basco & Jordi Domènech & Joan R. Rosés, 2022. "Unequal Mortality During the Spanish Flu," Palgrave Studies in Economic History, in: Pandemics, Economics and Inequality, chapter 0, pages 33-50, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:palscp:978-3-031-05668-0_3
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-05668-0_3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Clay, Karen & Lewis, Joshua & Severnini, Edson, 2018. "Pollution, Infectious Disease, and Mortality: Evidence from the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1179-1209, December.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Amanda Guimbeau & Nidhiya Menon & Aldo Musacchio, 2022. "Short‐ and medium‐run health and literacy impacts of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic in Brazil," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 75(4), pages 997-1025, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health inequality; Socioeconomic mortality differences; Urban penalty;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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