The Rational View welcomes Edgardo Sepulveda back to discuss the interactions between social inequality and COVID-19. Edgardo has co-authored a paper on the topic providing evidence that societies with higher inequity also suffer higher COVID-19 mortality rates.

It is not immediately clear why this might be the case, and it is difficult to tease out a correlation amidst all of the other confounding factors. This discussion is an interesting exploration of the application of statistics and the scientific method.

Edgardo Sepulveda has been a telecommunications economist for 25 years, the last 15 with his consulting firm in Toronto, Canada. He was born in Chile and has an MA in Economics. As part of his civic policy-related engagement, he also writes about electricity, inequality, COVID-19 and other issues, including at the Progressive Economics Forum, where he wrote the blog that we’ll be discussing on this episode. Edgardo has been the guest on a number of other energy-related podcasts. His Twitter handle is @E_R_Sepulveda.

“The Spirit Level” by UK social epidemiologists Picket and Wilkinson is the book that came out in 2009 and popularized the idea that social and economic inequality negatively affects individual and population health.  It has its own Wikipedia entry here: and is highlighted in the Equality Trust (a social NGO set up by them) here:

The Economist covered some of the COVID-inequality work in an article in its July 31, 2021 edition in the Finance section titled: “Why have some places suffered more covid-19 deaths than others? Income inequality is a big part of the answer”.

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