Monday , September 21 2020
Home / Project Syndicate / How Inequality Fuels COVID-19 Deaths

How Inequality Fuels COVID-19 Deaths

Summary:
High inequality undermines social cohesion, erodes public trust, and deepens political polarization, all of which negatively affect governments’ ability and readiness to respond to crises. This explains why the United States, Brazil, and Mexico account for nearly half of the world's reported deaths since the start of the pandemic. NEW YORK – Three countries – the United States, Brazil, and Mexico – account for nearly half (46%) of the world’s reported COVID-19 deaths, yet they contain only 8.6% of the world’s population. Some 60% of Europe’s deaths are concentrated in just three countries – Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom – which account for 38% of Europe’s population. There were many fewer deaths and lower

Topics:
Jeffrey D. Sachs considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Global Economic Intersection Analysis Blog Feed writes Stall Speed Economy

Menzie Chinn writes CBO on the Macro Impact of Pandemic Recovery Packages Thus Far

Tyler Cowen writes America fact of the day

Global Economic Intersection Analysis Blog Feed writes Long-Term Trends In Congress Brain Drain

High inequality undermines social cohesion, erodes public trust, and deepens political polarization, all of which negatively affect governments’ ability and readiness to respond to crises. This explains why the United States, Brazil, and Mexico account for nearly half of the world's reported deaths since the start of the pandemic.

NEW YORK – Three countries – the United States, Brazil, and Mexico – account for nearly half (46%) of the world’s reported COVID-19 deaths, yet they contain only 8.6% of the world’s population. Some 60% of Europe’s deaths are concentrated in just three countries – Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom – which account for 38% of Europe’s population. There were many fewer deaths and lower death rates in most of Northern and Central Europe.

Several factors determine a country’s COVID-19 death rate: the quality of political leadership, the coherence of the government’s response, the availability of hospital beds, the extent of international travel, and the population’s age structure. Yet one deep structural characteristic seems to be shaping the role of these factors: countries’ income and wealth distribution.

The US, Brazil, and Mexico have very high income and wealth inequality. The World Bank reports the respective Gini coefficients for recent years (2016-18) at 41.4 in the US, 53.5 in Brazil, and 45.9 in Mexico. (On a 100-point scale, a value of 100 signifies absolute inequality, with one person controlling all income or wealth, and zero means a completely equal distribution per person or household).

The US has the highest Gini coefficient among the advanced economies, while Brazil and Mexico are among the world’s most unequal countries. In Europe, Italy, Spain, and the UK – with Gini scores of 35.6, 35.3, and 34.8, respectively – are more unequal than their northern and eastern counterparts, such as Finland (27.3), Norway (28.5), Denmark (28.5), Austria (30.3), Poland (30.5), and Hungary (30.5).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *