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


  • Erten, Bilge

    (Northeastern University)

  • Keskin, Pinar

    (Wellesley College)

  • Prina, Silvia

    (Northeastern University)


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 for the January-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

  • Erten, Bilge & Keskin, Pinar & Prina, Silvia, 2022. "Social Distancing, Stimulus Payments, and Domestic Violence: Evidence from the US during COVID-19," IZA Discussion Papers 15098, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp15098

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    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. Marianne P. Bitler & Hilary W. Hoynes & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2020. "The Social Safety Net in the Wake of COVID-19," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 51(2 (Summer), pages 119-158.
    3. Hoehn-Velasco, Lauren & Silverio-Murillo, Adan & de la Miyar, Jose Roberto Balmori, 2021. "The great crime recovery: Crimes against women during, and after, the COVID-19 lockdown in Mexico," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
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    5. Lindsey Rose Bullinger & Jillian B. Carr & Analisa Packham, 2021. "COVID-19 and Crime," American Journal of Health Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 249-280.
    6. Beland, Louis-Philippe & Brodeur, Abel & Haddad, Joanne & Mikola, Derek, 2020. "Covid-19, Family Stress and Domestic Violence: Remote Work, Isolation and Bargaining Power," GLO Discussion Paper Series 571, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
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    9. 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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    11. Borjas, George J. & Cassidy, Hugh, 2020. "The Adverse Effect of the COVID-19 Labor Market Shock on Immigrant Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 13277, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. 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).
    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:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health


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