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COVID-19, Race, and Redlining

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  • Bertocchi, Graziella
  • Dimico, Arcangelo

Abstract

Discussion on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans has been at center stage since the outbreak of the epidemic in the United States. To present day, however, lack of race-disaggregated individual data has prevented a rigorous assessment of the extent of this phenomenon and the reasons why blacks may be particularly vulnerable to the disease. Using individual and georeferenced death data collected daily by the Cook County Medical Examiner, we provide first evidence that race does affect COVID-19 outcomes. The data confirm that in Cook County blacks are overrepresented in terms of COVID-19 related deaths since|as of June 16, 2020|they constitute 35 percent of the dead, so that they are dying at a rate 1.3 times higher than their population share. Furthermore, by combining the spatial distribution of mortality with the 1930s redlining maps for the Chicago area, we obtain a block group level panel dataset of weekly deaths over the period January 1, 2020-June 16, 2020, over which we establish that, after the outbreak of the epidemic, historically lower-graded neigh- borhoods display a sharper increase in mortality, driven by blacks, while no pre- treatment differences are detected. Thus, we uncover a persistence in uence of the racial segregation induced by the discriminatory lending practices of the 1930s, by way of a diminished resilience of the black population to the shock represented by the COVID-19 outbreak. A heterogeneity analysis reveals that the main channels of transmission are socioeconomic status and household composition, whose in uence is magnified in combination with a higher black share.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2020. "COVID-19, Race, and Redlining," GLO Discussion Paper Series 603, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:603
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    2. Kosteas, Vasilios D. & Renna, Francesco & Scicchitano, Sergio, 2022. "Covid-19 and Working from Home: toward a "new normal"?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1013, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Brandily, Paul & Brébion, Clément & Briole, Simon & Khoury, Laura, 2020. "A Poorly Understood Disease? The Unequal Distribution of Excess Mortality Due to COVID-19 Across French Municipalities," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 15/2020, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    4. Luca Bonacini & Giovanni Gallo & Sergio Scicchitano, 2021. "Working from home and income inequality: risks of a ‘new normal’ with COVID-19," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(1), pages 303-360, January.
    5. Humberto Laudares & Pedro Henrique Gagliardi, 2020. "Is Deforestation Spreading COVID-19 to the Indigenous Peoples?," Working Papers 08, Instituto de Estudos para Políticas de Saúde.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    COVID-19; deaths; blacks; redlining; vulnerability; Cook County; Chicago;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N92 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy

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