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COVID-19, staying at home, and domestic violence


  • Lin-Chi Hsu

    (Howard University)

  • Alexander Henke

    (Howard University)


We analyze how staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic affects the rates of domestic violence in the U.S. Using police dispatch and crime data from 36 police and sheriff’s departments and mobile device tracking data, we find that reported incidents of domestic violence increase as more people stay at home. Specifically, we estimate that staying at home due to COVID-19 increased domestic violence by over 5% on average from March 13 to May 24, 2020. This is consistent with a theory of exposure reduction, where victims and abusers stuck at home are more likely to fight.

Suggested Citation

  • Lin-Chi Hsu & Alexander Henke, 2021. "COVID-19, staying at home, and domestic violence," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 145-155, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:19:y:2021:i:1:d:10.1007_s11150-020-09526-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-020-09526-7

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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. Yoo-Mi Chin, 2012. "Male backlash, bargaining, or exposure reduction?: women’s working status and physical spousal violence in India," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 175-200, January.
    3. Anna Aizer, 2010. "The Gender Wage Gap and Domestic Violence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1847-1859, September.
    4. Pablo Brassiolo, 2016. "Domestic Violence and Divorce Law: When Divorce Threats Become Credible," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 443-477.
    5. Alexander Henke & Lin-chi Hsu, 2020. "The gender wage gap, weather, and intimate partner violence," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 413-429, June.
    6. Johanna Fajardo-Gonzalez, 0. "Domestic violence, decision-making power, and female employment in Colombia," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-22.
    7. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-349, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Economic consequences > Employment and Work > Intra-household allocation


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    Cited by:

    1. Sonia Bhalotra & Emilia Brito & Damian Clarke & Pilar Larroulet & Francisco J. Pino, 2021. "Dynamic impacts of lockdown on domestic violence: Evidence from multiple policy shifts in Chile," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2021-189, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    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. Carlos Díaz & Sebastian Fossati & Nicolás Trajtenberg, 2022. "Stay at home if you can: COVID‐19 stay‐at‐home guidelines and local crime," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 19(4), pages 1067-1113, December.
    4. Alexander Henke & Linchi Hsu, 2022. "COVID-19 and Domestic Violence: Economics or Isolation?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 296-309, June.
    5. Shinsuke Asakawa & Fumio Ohtake, 2021. "Impact of Temporary School Closure Due to COVID-19 on the Academic Achievement of Elementary School Students," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 21-14, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics.
    6. Bansak, Cynthia & Grossbard, Shoshana & Wong, Ho-Po Crystal, 2022. "Mothers’ caregiving during COVID: The impact of marital property laws on women’s labor force status," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 47(C).
    7. Bansak, Cynthia & Grossbard, Shoshana & Wong, Crystal (Ho Po), 2021. "Mothers' Caregiving during COVID: The Impact of Divorce Laws and Homeownership on Women's Labor Force Status," IZA Discussion Papers 14408, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. George Davis, 2021. "The many ways COVID-19 affects households: consumption, time, and health outcomes," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 281-289, June.
    9. April Schweinhart & Camila Aramburú & Rachel Bauer & Ashley Simons-Rudolph & Katharine Atwood & Winnie Kavulani Luseno, 2023. "Changes in Mental Health, Emotional Distress, and Substance Use Affecting Women Experiencing Violence and Their Service Providers during COVID-19 in a U.S. Southern State," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 20(4), pages 1-23, February.
    10. Zhaohui Su & Ali Cheshmehzangi & Dean McDonnell & Hengcai Chen & Junaid Ahmad & Sabina Šegalo & Claudimar Pereira da Veiga, 2022. "Technology-Based Mental Health Interventions for Domestic Violence Victims Amid COVID-19," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(7), pages 1-11, April.
    11. Daniel T. L. Shek & Janet T. Y. Leung & Lindan Tan, 2023. "Social Policies and Theories on Quality of Life under COVID-19: In Search of the Missing Links," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 18(3), pages 1149-1165, June.
    12. Michiko Nagashima-Hayashi & Anna Durrance-Bagale & Manar Marzouk & Mengieng Ung & Sze Tung Lam & Pearlyn Neo & Natasha Howard, 2022. "Gender-Based Violence in the Asia-Pacific Region during COVID-19: A Hidden Pandemic behind Closed Doors," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(4), pages 1-13, February.
    13. Juan F Domínguez D & Johnny Truong & Jake Burnett & Lata Satyen & Hamed Akhlaghi & Julian Stella & Nick Rushworth & Karen Caeyenberghs, 2022. "Effects of the Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic on Assault-Related Head Injury in Melbourne: A Retrospective Study," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 20(1), pages 1-19, December.
    14. Michèle Belot & Syngjoo Choi & Egon Tripodi & Eline van den Broek-Altenburg & Julian C. Jamison & Nicholas W. Papageorge, 2021. "Unequal consequences of Covid 19: representative evidence from six countries," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 769-783, September.
    15. Selin Köksal & Luca Maria Pesando & Valentina Rotondi & Ebru Şanlıtürk, 2022. "Harnessing the Potential of Google Searches for Understanding Dynamics of Intimate Partner Violence Before and After the COVID-19 Outbreak," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 38(3), pages 517-545, August.
    16. Lauren Gilbert & Susan Parker & Lauren Schechter, 2024. "The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on treatment for domestic violence injuries: evidence from medical claims," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 535-562, June.
    17. 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).
    18. ASAKAWA Shinsuke & OHTAKE Fumio & SANO Shinpei, 2023. "The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Academic Achievement of Elementary and Junior High School Students: Analysis using administrative data from Amagasaki City," Discussion papers 23066, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

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