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Love, hate and murder: Commitment devices in violent relationships

  • Aizer, Anna
  • Dal B, Pedro

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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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V76-4TMSNRV-1/2/aeb582f084029d5edc846b89ac414b09
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (April)
Pages: 412-428

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:3-4:p:412-428
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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