A Poorly Understood Disease? The Impact of COVID-19 on the Income Gradient in Mortality over the Course of the Pandemic

Paul Brandily, Clement Brebion*, Simon Briole, Laura Khoury

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Mortality inequalities remain substantial in many countries, and large shocks such as pandemics could amplify them further. The unequal distribution of COVID-19 confirmed cases suggests that this is the case. Yet, evidence on the causal effect of the epidemic on mortality inequalities remains scarce. In this paper, we exploit exhaustive municipality-level data in France, one of the most severely hit country in the world, to identify a negative relationship between income and excess mortality within urban areas, that persists over COVID-19 waves. Over the year 2020, the poorest municipalities experienced a 30% higher increase in excess mortality. Our analyses can rule out an independent contribution of lockdown policies to this heterogeneous impact. Finally, we find evidence that both labor-market exposure and housing conditions are major determinants of the epidemic-induced effects of COVID-19 on mortality inequalities, but that their respective role depends on the state of the epidemic.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103923
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Volume140
Number of pages28
ISSN0014-2921
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Poverty
  • Mortality inequality
  • Labor market
  • Housing conditions

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