Economic Conditions and Child Abuse

47 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2013

See all articles by Jason M. Lindo

Jason M. Lindo

Texas A&M University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jessamyn Schaller

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance

Benjamin Hansen

University of Oregon - Department of Economics; NBER; IZA

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Abstract

Although a huge literature spanning several disciplines documents an association between poverty and child abuse, researchers have not found persuasive evidence that economic downturns increase abuse, despite their impacts on family income. In this paper, we address this seeming contradiction. Using county-level child abuse data spanning 1996 to 2009 from the California Department of Justice, we estimate the extent to which a county's reported abuse rate diverges from its trend when its economic conditions diverge from trend, controlling for statewide annual shocks.The results of this analysis indicate that overall measures of economic conditions are not strongly related to rates of abuse. However, focusing on overall measures of economic conditions masks strong opposing effects of economic conditions facing males and females: male layoffs increase rates of abuse whereas female layoffs reduce rates of abuse. These results are consistent with a theoretical framework that builds on family-time-use models and emphasizes differential risks of abuse associated with a child's time spent with different caregivers.

Keywords: child abuse, recessions, job loss, time use, gender, childcare

JEL Classification: I10, J13, J16, J63, K42

Suggested Citation

Lindo, Jason M. and Schaller, Jessamyn and Hansen, Benjamin, Economic Conditions and Child Abuse. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7355, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2257205

Jason M. Lindo (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University ( email )

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Jessamyn Schaller

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

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Benjamin Hansen

University of Oregon - Department of Economics ( email )

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