Understanding How Socioeconomic Inequalities Drive Inequalities in SARS-CoV-2 Infections

56 Pages Posted: 11 May 2021

See all articles by Rachid Laajaj

Rachid Laajaj

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Duncan Webb

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Danilo Aristizabal

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Eduardo Behrentz

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Raquel Bernal

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Giancarlo Buitrago

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Zulma M. Cucunubá

Imperial College London - MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis

Fernando de la Hoz

National University of Colombia

Alejandro Gaviria Uribe

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Luis Jorge Hernández Florez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Camilo De Los Rios Rueda

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Andrea Ramirez Varela

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - School of Medicine

Silvia Restrepo

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Norbert Schady

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Martha Vives Florez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Date Written: May 3, 2021

Abstract

Across the world, the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic has disproportionately affected economically disadvantaged groups. This differential impact has numerous possible explanations, each with significantly different policy implications. We examine, for the first time in a low- or middle-income country, which mechanisms best explain the disproportionate impact of the virus on the poor. Combining an epidemiological model with rich data from Bogotá, Colombia, we show that total infections and inequalities in infections are largely driven by inequalities in the inability to work remotely and in within-home secondary attack rates. Inequalities in isolation behavior are less important but non-negligible, while access to testing and contract-tracing plays practically no role. Interventions that mitigate transmission are often more effective when targeted on socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.

Keywords: COVID-19, inequality, infections, socioeconomic strata

JEL Classification: I14, I15, I18, O54

Suggested Citation

Laajaj, Rachid and Webb, Duncan and Aristizabal, Danilo and Behrentz, Eduardo and Bernal, Raquel and Buitrago, Giancarlo and Cucunubá, Zulma M. and de la Hoz, Fernando and Gaviria Uribe, Alejandro and Hernández Florez, Luis Jorge and De Los Rios Rueda, Camilo and Ramirez Varela, Andrea and Restrepo, Silvia and Schady, Norbert and Vives Florez, Martha, Understanding How Socioeconomic Inequalities Drive Inequalities in SARS-CoV-2 Infections (May 3, 2021). Documento CEDE No. 24, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3841746 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3841746

Rachid Laajaj (Contact Author)

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia

Duncan Webb

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

Danilo Aristizabal

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311
Colombia

Eduardo Behrentz

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311
Colombia

Raquel Bernal

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia

Giancarlo Buitrago

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia

Zulma M. Cucunubá

Imperial College London - MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Fernando De la Hoz

National University of Colombia ( email )

Carrera 30 45-03
Bogota, None
Colombia

Alejandro Gaviria Uribe

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia

Luis Jorge Hernández Florez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311
Colombia

Camilo De Los Rios Rueda

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

Andrea Ramirez Varela

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - School of Medicine ( email )

Cra 7 #116-05
Bogotá, 11001000
Colombia

Silvia Restrepo

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311
Colombia

Norbert Schady

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

Martha Vives Florez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311
Colombia

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