Does Mobility Explain Why Slums Were Hit Harder by Covid-19 in Mumbai, India?

26 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2021 Last revised: 20 Jul 2021

See all articles by Jaymee Sheng

Jaymee Sheng

Stanford University

Anup Malani

University of Chicago - Law School; University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine; Resources for the Future; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Purushotham Botla

Infinite Analytics

Ashish Goel

Stanford University - Department of Management Science & Engineering

Date Written: March 2021

Abstract

SARS-CoV-2 has had a greater burden, as measured by rate of infection, in poorer communities within cities. For example, 55% of Mumbai slums residents had antibodies to COVID-19, 3.2 times the seroprevalence in non-slum areas of the city according to a sero-survey done in July 2020. One explanation is that government suppression was less severe in poorer communities, either because the poor were more likely to be exempt or unable to comply. Another explanation is that effective suppression itself accelerated the epidemic in poor neighborhoods because households are more crowded and residents share toilet and water facilities. We show there is little evidence for the first hypothesis in the context of Mumbai. Using location data from smart phones, we find that slum residents had nominally but not significantly (economically or statistically) higher mobility than non-slums prior to the sero-survey. We also find little evidence that mobility in non-slums was lower than in slums during lockdown, a subset of the period before the survey.

Suggested Citation

Sheng, Jaymee and Malani, Anup and Botla, Purushotham and Goel, Ashish, Does Mobility Explain Why Slums Were Hit Harder by Covid-19 in Mumbai, India? (March 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w28541, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3799832

Jaymee Sheng (Contact Author)

Stanford University

Anup Malani

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/malani/

University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Resources for the Future

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Purushotham Botla

Infinite Analytics ( email )

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Ashish Goel

Stanford University - Department of Management Science & Engineering ( email )

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