Love, Hate and Murder: Commitment Devices in Violent Relationships

47 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2007 Last revised: 14 Nov 2021

See all articles by Anna Aizer

Anna Aizer

Brown University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Pedro Dal Bo

Brown University - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2007

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Aizer, Anna and Dal Bo, Pedro, Love, Hate and Murder: Commitment Devices in Violent Relationships (October 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1021970

Anna Aizer (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States
401-863-3836 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Pedro Dal Bo

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States
401-863-2953 (Phone)
401-863-1970 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.brown.edu/fac/Pedro_Dal_Bo/

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