A Poorly Understood Disease? The Unequal Distribution of Excess Mortality Due to COVID-19 Across French Municipalities

45 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2020

See all articles by Paul Brandily

Paul Brandily

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Clement Brebion

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Simon Briole

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Laura Khoury

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)

Date Written: August 25, 2020

Abstract

While COVID-19 was responsible for more than 600,000 deaths worldwide as of July 24, 2020, very little is known about the socio-economic heterogeneity of its impact on mortality. In this paper, we combine several administrative data sources to estimate the relationship between mortality due to COVID-19 and poverty at a very local level (i.e. the municipality level) in France, one of the most severely hit countries in the world. We find strong evidence of an income gradient in the impact of the pandemic on mortality rates, which is twice as large in municipalities below the 25th percentile of the national income distribution than in municipalities above this threshold. We then show that both poor housing conditions and higher occupational exposure play a key role in this heterogeneity: taken together, these mechanisms account for up to 77% of the difference observed between rich and poor municipalities.

Keywords: COVID-19 ; poverty; inequality; mortality; labor market; housing conditions

JEL Classification: I14; I18; R00

Suggested Citation

Brandily, Paul and Brebion, Clement and Briole, Simon and Khoury, Laura, A Poorly Understood Disease? The Unequal Distribution of Excess Mortality Due to COVID-19 Across French Municipalities (August 25, 2020). NHH Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 15/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3682513 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3682513

Paul Brandily

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Clement Brebion

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Simon Briole

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

Laura Khoury (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045
Norway

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