Unemployment and Domestic Violence: Theory and Evidence
AbstractWhile many commentators perceive unemployment to be a key risk factor for intimate partner violence, the empirical evidence remains limited. We combine individual-level data from the British Crime Survey (BCS) with local labor market data to estimate the effects of total and gender-specific unemployment rates on domestic violence. The analysis uses the substantial variation in the increase in unemployment across areas, gender, and age-groups associated with the onset of the latest recession. Our main specification links a woman’s risk of being abused to the unemployment rate among females and males in her local area and age group. Our results suggest that male and female unemployment have opposite-signed effects on domestic violence: while female unemployment increases the risk abuse, unemployment among males has the opposite effect. The result is shown to be robust to the inclusion of a wide set of control and also remains when we instrument for male and female unemployment using shift-share indices of labor demand. We argue that our findings are consistent with a theory of domestic violence in which (i) marriage provides insurance against employment risk through the pooling of resources, and (ii) a woman does not know the violent predisposition of her partner but infers it from his behavior. When the male partner face a high risk of unemployment, a potentially abusive husband strategically conceals his type as he has an economic incentive to avoid divorce and the associated loss of spousal insurance. However, when the female spouse faces a high risk of unemployment, her expected financial dependency on her partner prompts a husband with violent predisposition to reveal his abusive nature.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20188.
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2013: Wettbewerbspolitik und Regulierung in einer globalen Wirtschaftsordnung - Session: Regional Labor Markets B18-V1 (2013)
Other versions of this item:
- Dan Anderberg & Helmut Rainer & Jonathan Wadsworth & Tanya Wilson, 2013. "Unemployment and Domestic Violence: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 4315, CESifo Group Munich.
- Dan Anderberg & Helmut Rainer & Jonathan Wadsworth & Tanya Wilson, 2013. "Unemployment and domestic violence: theory and evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51572, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Dan Anderberg & Helmut Rainer & Jonathan Wadsworth & Tanya Wilson, 2013. "Unemployment and Domestic Violence: Theory and Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp1230, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Rainer, Helmut & Anderberg, Dan & Wadsworth, Jonathan & Wilson, Tanya, 2013. "Unemployment and Domestic Violence: Theory and Evidence," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79803, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
- Anderberg, Dan & Rainer, Helmut & Wadsworth, Jonathan & Wilson, Tanya, 2013. "Unemployment and Domestic Violence: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 7515, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
- D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
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