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Economic Determinants and Consequences of Child Maltreatment

Author

Listed:
  • Lawrence M. Berger

    (University of Wisconsin)

  • Jane Waldfogel

    (Columbia University)

Abstract

Substantial numbers of children in the advanced industrialized countries experience child abuse and neglect each year, resulting in considerable social, emotional, and economic costs to both the children themselves and to their societies as a whole. Yet, whereas scholars and policymakers have grown increasingly concerned with promoting child well-being, particularly among low income children, limited attention has been paid to child maltreatment. This paper reviews the existing research on the economic determinants and consequences of child abuse and neglect, drawing on theoretical and empirical studies from a wide range of disciplines. We first provide background information about child maltreatment in advanced industrialized countries. Next, we present current theory and empirical evidence regarding links between low income and child maltreatment. We then turn to the evidence on the long-term consequences of maltreatment. Finally, we conclude with a brief discussion of interventions to prevent abuse and neglect. We argue that results from a large number of studies clearly imply that economic resources play an important role in influencing risk for child abuse and (particularly) child neglect, although conclusive causal evidence has thus far been elusive. Furthermore, existing evidence that child abuse and neglect impose tremendous long-term costs both to victims and to society as a whole justifies heightened efforts to reduce child maltreatment. Finally, although a few proven programs exist, the evidence base with regard to effective policies and programs for preventing maltreatment is generally quite weak. Additional rigorous research across the advanced industrialized countries is necessary to promote a better understanding of the economic determinants and consequences of abuse and neglect, as well as the efficacy of policies and programs aimed at preventing child maltreatment and ameliorating its adverse effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence M. Berger & Jane Waldfogel, 2011. "Economic Determinants and Consequences of Child Maltreatment," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 111, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:111-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kgf09zj7h9t-en
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    Cited by:

    1. Raissian, Kerri M. & Bullinger, Lindsey Rose, 2017. "Money matters: Does the minimum wage affect child maltreatment rates?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 60-70.
    2. Doidge, James C & Higgins, Daryl J & Delfabbro, Paul & Edwards, Ben & Vassallo, Suzanne & Toumbourou, John W & Segal, Leonie, 2017. "Economic predictors of child maltreatment in an Australian population-based birth cohort," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 14-25.
    3. Schneider, William & Waldfogel, Jane & Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne, 2017. "The Great Recession and risk for child abuse and neglect," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 71-81.
    4. Slack, Kristen S. & Berger, Lawrence M. & Noyes, Jennifer L., 2017. "Introduction to the special issue on the economic causes and consequences of child maltreatment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1-4.
    5. Daniel Brown & Elisabetta De Cao, 2017. "The Impact of Unemployment on Child Maltreatment in the United States," Economics Series Working Papers 837, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    6. Adema, Willem, 2012. "Setting the scene: The mix of family policy objectives and packages across the OECD," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 487-498.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    abuse and neglect; child well-being; children;

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