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Social Distancing, Stimulus Payments, and Domestic Violence: Evidence from the US during COVID-19


  • Bilge Erten
  • Pinar Keskin
  • Silvia Prina


We examine the effects of social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the reporting of domestic violence to the police in the United States. Using daily domestic violence calls from 31 police departments from January to September 2020 (compared to 2019), we find that the early spike in police calls disappears around mid-April, coinciding with the distribution of CARES Act stimulus payments. We observe that domestic violence calls for areas with higher concentration of Hispanics and noncitizens remain elevated even after this period. These results underscore the importance of improved access to social safety programs in combating domestic violence.

Suggested Citation

  • Bilge Erten & Pinar Keskin & Silvia Prina, 2022. "Social Distancing, Stimulus Payments, and Domestic Violence: Evidence from the US during COVID-19," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 112, pages 262-266, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:apandp:v:112:y:2022:p:262-66
    DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20221011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Leslie, Emily & Wilson, Riley, 2020. "Sheltering in place and domestic violence: Evidence from calls for service during COVID-19," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    2. Forsythe, Eliza & Kahn, Lisa B. & Lange, Fabian & Wiczer, David, 2020. "Labor demand in the time of COVID-19: Evidence from vacancy postings and UI claims," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
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    Cited by:

    1. Clarke, Damian & Larroulet, Pilar & Pailañir, Daniel & Quintana, Daniela, 2023. "Schools as Safety Nets: Break-Downs and Recovery in Reporting of Violence against Children," IZA Discussion Papers 15859, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Roman, Soraya & Aguiar-Palma, Marina & Machado, Cecilia, 2023. "A tale of two cities: Heterogeneous effects of COVID-19 quarantine on domestic violence in Brazil," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 331(C).
    3. Miller, Amalia R. & Segal, Carmit & Spencer, Melissa K., 2022. "Effects of COVID‐19 shutdowns on domestic violence in US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


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