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The Role of Domestic Abuse in Labor and Marriage Markets: Observing the Unobservables

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Abstract

In this paper we study the effects of abusive behavior on the labor force and marital status decisions of women. Using a unique Canadian data set on domestic violence, we estimate the effects of abuse on the marital history as well as current employment using a sequential, multi-state model. In our model, spousal abuse affects labor supply through decreases in utility from leisure as well as through reductions in productivity at work and hence the market wage. In addition, abuse is treated as an initially unobserved spousal characteristic that plays a role in the divorce decision, which in turn influences labor supply. Our analysis reveals three main findings. First, the effects of domestic abuse on employment differ across marital histories. Employment is decreasing in the presence of abuse in current and past marriages for married and divorced women, respectively, consistent with a health effect on the wage. In contrast, remarried women are more likely to work if abused in the current, but not the past, marriage. Second, domestic abuse is a dominant factor in the divorce decision, which in turn is a major determinant of employment. Finally, standard economic information such as age and education plays a minor role in the divorce decision relative to the abuse-related information.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics in its series UWO Department of Economics Working Papers with number 9801.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:9801

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Postal: Department of Economics, Reference Centre, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
Web page: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/research_papers/department_working_papers.html

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  1. Bartel, Ann & Taubman, Paul, 1979. "Health and Labor Market Success: The Role of Various Diseases," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(1), pages 1-8, February.
  2. Berg, G.J. & Lindeboom, M. & Ridder, G., 1993. "Attrition in longitudinal panel data, and the empirical analysis of dynamic labour market behaviour," Serie Research Memoranda 0014, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  3. Tauchen, Helen V & Witte, Ann Dryden & Long, Sharon K, 1991. "Domestic Violence: A Nonrandom Affair," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(2), pages 491-511, May.
  4. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  5. Nakamura, Masao & Nakamura, Alice & Cullen, Dallas, 1979. "Job Opportunities, the Offered Wage, and the Labor Supply of Married Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 787-805, December.
  6. Chirikos, Thomas N & Nestel, Gilbert, 1985. "Further Evidence on the Economic Effects of Poor Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 61-69, February.
  7. Gritz, R. Mark, 1993. "The impact of training on the frequency and duration of employment," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1-3), pages 21-51.
  8. Lundberg, Shelly, 1985. "The Added Worker Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 11-37, January.
  9. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  10. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  11. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  12. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-54, June.
  13. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 1997. "Social Assistance and Conjugal Union Dissolution in Canada: A Dynamic Analysis," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(1), pages 112-34, February.
  14. Nakamura, Alice & Nakamura, Masao, 1981. "A Comparison of the Labor Force Behavior of Married Women in the United States and Canada, with Special Attention to the Impact of Income Taxes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(2), pages 451-89, March.
  15. Cornwell, Christopher & Rupert, Peter, 1997. "Unobservable Individual Effects, Marriage and the Earnings of Young Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 285-94, April.
  16. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  17. Ham, John C & LaLonde, Robert J, 1996. "The Effect of Sample Selection and Initial Conditions in Duration Models: Evidence from Experimental Data on Training," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 175-205, January.
  18. Helen V. Tauchen & Ann Dryden Witte & Sharon K. Long, 1985. "Domestic Violence: A Non-random Affair," NBER Working Papers 1665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Johnson, William R & Skinner, Jonathan, 1986. "Labor Supply and Marital Separation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 455-69, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Vani Borooah & John Mangan, 2009. "Home is where the hurt is: an econometric analysis of injuries caused by spousal assault," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(21), pages 2779-2787.

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