Racial Inequality in Health Care During a Pandemic
23 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2020 Last revised: 10 Nov 2020
Date Written: September 11, 2020
This paper provides evidence that a person's race influences the probability of receiving proper health care during a pandemic. In order to do so, we use country-wide individual-level data of people hospitalized due to respiratory infections in Brazil during the COVID-19 crisis. We find that white individuals are more likely to receive intensive care treatment than their counterparts from different races, even after accounting for observable characteristics such as symptoms, co-morbidities, and hospital and epidemiological-week fixed effects. We also find that this effects comes mostly from private hospitals, where only patients with insurance can have access to ICU units. No racial disparity is found in public hospitals, where ICUs are allocated regardless of access to private insurance. Our findings are consistent with the presence of institutional racism in Brazilian health care markets, where racial inequalities in the economy are reproduced in this market through race-neutral rules.
Keywords: Race, Inequality, Health, COVID-19
JEL Classification: I14, J15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation