Covid-19, Race, and Redlining

69 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020

See all articles by Graziella Bertocchi

Graziella Bertocchi

Università di Modena; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Arcangelo Dimico

Queen's University Belfast - Queen's Management School; Queen's University Belfast

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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 neighborhoods display a sharper increase in mortality, driven by blacks, while no pre-treatment differences are detected. Thus, we uncover a persistence influence 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 influence is magnified in combination with a higher black share.

Keywords: COVID-19, deaths, blacks, redlining, vulnerability, Cook County, Chicago

JEL Classification: I14, J15, N32, N92, R38

Suggested Citation

Bertocchi, Graziella and Dimico, Arcangelo, Covid-19, Race, and Redlining. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13467, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3648807

Graziella Bertocchi (Contact Author)

Università di Modena; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF)

Rome, 00187
Italy

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Arcangelo Dimico

Queen's University Belfast - Queen's Management School ( email )

Riddel Hall
185 Stranmillis Road
Belfast, BT9 5EE
United Kingdom

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

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