RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2020-21

RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2020-21


Severity of the Covid-19 Pandemic in India


The main objective of this study is to identify the socio-economic, meteorological and geographical factors associated with the severity of COVID-19 pandemic in India. The severity is measured by the Cumulative Severity Ratio (CSR) - the ratio of the cumulative COVID related deaths to the deaths in a pre-pandemic year -, its first difference and COVID infection cases. We have found significant inter-state heterogeneity in the pandemic development and have contrasted the trends of the COVID-19 severities between Maharashtra which had the largest number of COVID deaths and cases and the other states. Drawing upon random effects models and Tobit models for the weekly and monthly panel datasets of 32 states/union territories, we have found that the factors associated with the COVID severity include income, gender, multi-morbidity, urbanisation, lockdown and unlock phases, weather including temperature and rainfall, and the retail price of wheat. Brief observations from a policy perspective are made towards the end.


Covid-19; Cumulative severity ratio; Daily severity ratio; Random-Effects model; India; Maharashtra

JEL Classification

C23, I18, N35, O10


Katsushi S. IMAI
Department of Economics, The University of Manchester, UK
Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration
Kobe University
Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe
657-8501 Japan
Phone: +81-78-803-7036
FAX: +81-78-803-7059

School of Business, Public Policy and Social Entrepreneurship, Ambedkar University, India

Raghav GAIHA
Glovbal Development Institute, University of Manchester, UK
Population Studies Centre, University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.