Interesting new paper, forthcoming in the Journal of Health Economics, that uses 9/11 as a quasi-experimental source of variation to try and get at the causal effect of discrimination (here, against Muslims in the UK) on health outcomes. It also goes a bit further than this and tries to get at some of the mechanisms. The findings are, sadly, along the lines of what I expected:
The attitudes of the general British population towards Muslims changed post 2001, and this change led to a significant increase in Anti-Muslim discrimination. We use this exogenous attitude change to estimate the causal impact of increased discrimination on a range of objective and subjective health outcomes. The difference-in-differences estimates indicate that discrimination worsens blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI and self-assessed general health. Thus, discrimination is a potentially important determinant of the large racial and ethnic health gaps observed in many countries. We also investigate the pathways through which discrimination impacts upon health, and find that discrimination has a negative effect on employment, perceived social support, and health-producing behaviours. Crucially, our results hold for different control groups and model specifications.
So in addition to the deadweight loss of underutilizing potentially talented men and women, as well as increasing social unrest and the potential political costs that might have, we can now add health to the slew of negative impacts from discrimination.
In a later post, I'll go over a paper that Sonia Bhalotra and I are working on that looks at how discrimination can prevent children who have better childhoods into tapping into that wellspring as adults.