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Economic Conditions and Child Abuse

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  • Jason M. Lindo
  • Jessamyn Schaller
  • Benjamin Hansen

Abstract

Although a huge literature spanning several disciplines documents an association between poverty and child abuse, researchers have not found persuasive evidence that economic downturns increase abuse, despite their impacts on family income. In this paper, we address this seeming contradiction. Using county-level child abuse data spanning 1996 to 2009 from the California Department of Justice, we estimate the extent to which a county's reported abuse rate diverges from its trend when its economic conditions diverge from trend, controlling for statewide annual shocks. The results of this analysis indicate that overall measures of economic conditions are not strongly related to rates of abuse. However, focusing on overall measures of economic conditions masks strong opposing effects of economic conditions facing males and females: male layoffs increase rates of abuse whereas female layoffs reduce rates of abuse. These results are consistent with a theoretical framework that builds on family-time-use models and emphasizes differential risks of abuse associated with a child's time spent with different caregivers.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18994.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18994

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  1. Marianne Bitler & Madeline Zavodny, 2002. "Child Abuse and Abortion Availability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 363-367, May.
  2. Marcus Eliason & Donald Storrie, 2009. "Does Job Loss Shorten Life?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
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  8. Denise Doiron & Silvia Mendolia, 2012. "The impact of job loss on family dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 367-398, January.
  9. Eliason, Marcus, 2004. "Lost jobs, broken marriages," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-21, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  10. Janet Currie & Erdal Tekin, 2012. "Understanding the Cycle: Childhood Maltreatment and Future Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 509-549.
  11. Jane Waldfogel & Christina Paxson, 1999. "Parental Resources and Child Abuse and Neglect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 239-244, May.
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  14. Colman, Gregory & Dave, Dhaval, 2013. "Exercise, physical activity, and exertion over the business cycle," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 11-20.
  15. Fletcher, Jason M., 2009. "Childhood mistreatment and adolescent and young adult depression," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 799-806, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Maclean, Johanna Catherine, 2013. "The health effects of leaving school in a bad economy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 951-964.

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