The Great Unequalizer: Initial Health Effects of COVID-19 in the United States
AbstractWe measure inequities from the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality and hospitalizations in the United States during the early months of the outbreak. We discuss challenges in measuring health outcomes and health inequality, some of which are specific to COVID-19 and others that complicate attribution during most large health shocks. As in past epidemics, preexisting biological and social vulnerabilities profoundly influenced the distribution of disease. In addition to the elderly, Hispanic, Black and Native American communities were disproportionately affected by the virus, particularly when assessed using the years of potential life lost metric. We provide a conceptual framework and initial empirical analysis that seek to shed light on contributors to pandemic-related health inequality, and we suggest areas for future research.
CitationAlsan, Marcella, Amitabh Chandra, and Kosali Simon. 2021. "The Great Unequalizer: Initial Health Effects of COVID-19 in the United States." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 35 (3): 25-46. DOI: 10.1257/jep.35.3.25
- D63 Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- I12 Health Behavior
- I14 Health and Inequality
- J15 Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination