Banking Market Deregulation and Mortality Inequality
This paper shows that local banking market conditions affect mortality rates in the United States. Exploiting the staggered relaxation of branching restrictions in the 1990s across states, we find that banking deregulation decreases local mortality rates. This effect is driven by a decrease in the mortality rate of black residents, implying a decrease in the black-white mortality gap. We further analyze the role of mortgage markets as a transmitter between banking deregulation and mortality and show that households' easier access to finance explains mortality dynamics. We do not find any evidence that our results can be explained by improved labor outcomes.