JOB MARKET PAPER: Anti-Black Hate Crimes and Black-White Health Gap
In 2019, hate crimes reported in the United States rose to the highest level in a decade. High exposure to race-motivated violence may induce psychological stress among Black individuals, contributing to racial disparities in health. In this paper, I conduct two separate yet complementary studies that document the adverse effects of anti-Black hate crimes on the health outcomes of Black infants and adults. First, I leverage a rich data set consisting of all nationwide birth records from the National Center for Health Statistics to show that in utero exposure to local anti-Black aggravated assaults is associated with lower birth weights and shorter gestation lengths among Black infants. These effects are substantial. For Black infants, exposure to eleven or more anti-Black aggravated assaults during gestation is linked to an over 70 gram decrease in birth weight. Second, using restricted-access Emergency Department Data from the California Department of Health Care Access and Information, I find a nearly 50% increase, relative to the mean, in the volume of chest pain-related Emergency Department visits among Black adults on the day of an anti-Black aggravated assault in their area of residence. In contrast to these results, I report that the effects on White infants and adults are negligible in magnitude and largely insignificant. Taken together, this suggests that stress associated with exposure to local anti-Black hate crimes may be a contributor to the racial health disparities present in the United States.