Discussion Paper

Understanding the Racial and Income Gap in COVID-19: Social Distancing, Pollution, and Demographics


Abstract: This is the third post in a series looking to explain the gap in COVID-19 intensity by race and by income. In the first two posts, we have investigated whether comorbidities, uninsurance, hospital resources, and home and transit crowding help explain the income and minority gaps. Here, we continue our investigation by looking at three additional potential channels: the fraction of elderly people, pollution, and social distancing at the beginning of the pandemic in the county. We aim to understand whether these three factors affect overall COVID-19 intensity, whether the income and racial gaps of COVID-19 can be further explained when we additionally include these factors, and whether and to what extent these factors independently account for income and racial gaps in COVID-19 intensity (without controlling for the factors considered in the other posts in this series).

Keywords: COVID-19; hetergeneity; race; social distancing; pollution;

JEL Classification: I14;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Part of Series: Liberty Street Economics

Publication Date: 2021-01-12

Number: 20210112c

Note: Heterogeneity Series V: The Racial and Income Gap in COVID-19