Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/222261
Authors: 
Bertocchi, Graziella
Dimico, Arcangelo
Year of Publication: 
2020
Series/Report no.: 
QUCEH Working Paper Series No. 2020-06
Abstract: 
Discussion on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans has been at center stage since the outbreak of the epidemic in the United States. To present day, however, lack of race-disaggregated individual data has prevented a rigorous assessment of the extent of this phenomenon and the reasons why blacks may be particularly vulnerable to the disease. Using individual and georeferenced death data collected daily by the Cook County Medical Examiner, we provide first evidence that race does affect COVID-19 outcomes. The data confirm that in Cook County blacks are overrepresented in terms of COVID-19 related deaths since-as of June 16, 2020-they constitute 35 percent of the dead, so that they are dying at a rate 1.3 times higher that their population share. Furthermore, by combining the spatial distribution of mortality with the 1930s redlining maps for the Chicago area, we obtain a block group level panel dataset of weekly deaths over the period January 1, 2020-June 16, 2020, over which we establish that, after the outbreak of the epidemic, historically lower-graded neighborhoods display a sharper increase in mortality, driven by blacks, while no pre-treatment differences are detected. Thus, we uncover a persistence influence of the racial segregation induced by the discriminatory lending practices of the 1930s, by way of a diminished resilience of the black population to the shock represented by the COVID-19 outbreak. A heterogeneity analysis reveals that the main channels of transmission are socioeconomic status and household composition, whose influence is magnified in combination with a higher black share.
Subjects: 
COVID-19
deaths
blacks
redlining
vulnerability
Cook County
Chicago
JEL: 
I14
J15
N32
N92
R38
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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