Regional Poverty Worsens Infectious Diseases: Evidence from COVID-19 Pandemic

23 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2020 Last revised: 6 Apr 2021

See all articles by Abu Bakkar Siddique

Abu Bakkar Siddique

Goerge Mason University

Kingsley E. Haynes

Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

Rajendra Kulkarni

Schar School of Policy & Government, GMU

Meng-Hao Li

George Mason University

Date Written: September 25, 2020

Abstract

This paper examines the role of regional poverty on the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.A. It also verifies if the effects differ with the concentration of ethnic minorities. We find that poverty is a significant and consistent determinant of higher COVID-19 infections and fatalities. The prevalent poverty areas experienced higher infections due to its economic structures that require hypermobility - more physical human-to-human contacts and experienced higher deaths due to limited access to health services. These are also regions where minority groups are concentrated, and thus, the disproportionate infections and fatalities occurred within the black, Hispanic, and Asian population. Our evidence is robust to state fixed effects that capture local COVID-19 mitigation policies, multi-level hierarchical modeling, and large sets of county-level health, social, and economic factors. This paper contributes to the literature on health and economic disparities and their resulting consequences for infectious diseases.

Keywords: COVID-19, poverty, fixed effects, infections, fatalities

JEL Classification: I30, I14, R12, C31

Suggested Citation

Siddique, Abu Bakkar and Haynes, Kingsley E. and Kulkarni, Rajendra and Li, Meng-Hao, Regional Poverty Worsens Infectious Diseases: Evidence from COVID-19 Pandemic (September 25, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3702682 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3702682

Abu Bakkar Siddique (Contact Author)

Goerge Mason University ( email )

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Kingsley E. Haynes

Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University ( email )

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Arlington, VA 22201
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Rajendra Kulkarni

Schar School of Policy & Government, GMU ( email )

Founders Hall
3351 Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Meng-Hao Li

George Mason University

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3351 Fairfax Drive, MS 3B1
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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