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Love, Hate and Murder: Commitment Devices in Violent Relationships

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  • Anna Aizer
  • Pedro Dal Bó

Abstract

Many violent relationships are characterized by a high degree of cyclicality: women who are the victims of domestic violence often leave and return multiple times. To explain this we develop a model of time inconsistent preferences in the context of domestic violence. This time inconsistency generates a demand for commitment. We present supporting evidence that women in violent relationships display time inconsistent preferences by examining their demand for commitment devices. We find that "no-drop" policies -- which compel the prosecutor to continue with prosecution even if the victim expresses a desire to drop the charges -- result in an increase in reporting. No-drop policies also result in a decrease in the number of men murdered by intimates suggesting that some women in violent relationships move away from an extreme type of commitment device when a less costly one is offered.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13492.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Publication status: published as Aizer, Anna & Dal B, Pedro, 2009. "Love, hate and murder: Commitment devices in violent relationships," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 412-428, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13492

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Cited by:
  1. Lakshmi Iyer & Anandi Mani & Prachi Mishra & Petia Topalova, 2012. "The Power of Political Voice: Women's Political Representation and Crime in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 165-93, October.
  2. Anna Aizer, 2010. "The Gender Wage Gap and Domestic Violence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1847-59, September.
  3. Jungmin Lee, 2013. "The Impact of a Mandatory Cooling-off Period on Divorce," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(1), pages 227 - 243.

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